Online social networks as formal learning environments: Learner experiences and activities

  • George Veletsianos University of Texas at Austin
  • Cesar Navarrete University of Texas at Austin
Keywords: Online learning, learner experience, online learning environments, online social networks, elgg

Abstract

While the potential of social networking sites to contribute to educational endeavors is highlighted by researchers and practitioners alike, empirical evidence on the use of such sites for formal online learning is scant. To fill this gap in the literature, we present a case study of learners’ perspectives and experiences in an online course taught using the Elgg online social network. Findings from this study indicate that learners enjoyed and appreciated both the social learning experience afforded by the online social network and supported one another in their learning, enhancing their own and other students’ experiences. Conversely, results also indicate that students limited their participation to course-related and graded activities, exhibiting little use of social networking and sharing. Additionally, learners needed support in managing the expanded amount of information available to them and devised strategies and “workarounds” to manage their time and participation.

Author Biography

George Veletsianos, University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Professor, Instructional Technology
Published
2012-01-31
How to Cite
Veletsianos, G., & Navarrete, C. (2012). Online social networks as formal learning environments: Learner experiences and activities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 144-166. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v13i1.1078
Section
Research Articles