Virtual Professional Development and Informal Learning via Social Networks

Virtual Professional Development and Informal Learning via Social Networks

Vanessa P. Dennen (Florida State University, USA) and Jennifer B. Myers (Florida State University, USA)
Indexed In: SCOPUS View 4 More Indices
Release Date: June, 2012|Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 364
ISBN13: 9781466618152|ISBN10: 1466618159|EISBN13: 9781466618169|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1815-2


People are increasingly engaged in profession-related learning via social networks supported by Web 2.0 tools. Some of these informal online learners are already actively engaged in a profession, whereas others are preparing to enter a profession. Their online interactions enhance their formal education and face-to-face professional experiences

Virtual Professional Development and Informal Learning via Social Networks will examine how individuals and organizations are using Web 2.0 tools to create informal learning and professional development opportunities. Informal learning is learning which occurs outside of a formal educational context, typically driven by a personal question or an immediate need. In other instances, informal learning may occur as a by-product of other social interactions. In this context, we focus on informal learning that occurs through online social networks on a voluntary basis. Professional development, then, is defined as learning that will enhance one's job-related knowledge or career growth. This book is perfectly suited for academics and practitioners as it is written in a manner that is clearly accessible and includes implications for practice.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Case studies of cognitive apprenticeship, mentoring, and knowledge brokering through online social networks.
  • Case studies of social network development
  • Empirical research on network interactions in professional development networks
  • Evaluations of online professional development networks
  • How norms and practices develop in professional development networks
  • How professional development networks are designed and developed
  • Pedagogical frameworks for informal online professional development
  • Social networking frameworks for informal online professional development
  • technologies used for professional development networks
  • Technology support for informal online professional development

Reviews and Testimonials

Overall this is a stimulating, detailed and well-researched volume that provides ideas for further discussion in the area of professional development and learning in an online environment utilizing Web 2.0 tools. I recommend this book as a worthwhile purchase for tertiary education libraries, particularly those with a teaching faculty.

– Kay Neville, TAFE New South Wales, Online Information Review, Vol. 37, No. 2

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Vanessa P. Dennen is an Associate Professor of Instructional Systems at Florida State University. She earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. Her research investigates the nexus of cognitive, motivational, and social elements in computer-mediated communication, concentrating on two major issues: learner participation in online activities, and interactions, norm development, and informal learning within online communities of practice. Vanessa’s publications, which have been well cited, have appeared in Instructional Science; Distance Education; Computers in Human Behavior; The Handbook of Distance Education; The Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology; and The International Handbook of Collaborative Learning among others. Additionally, she recently co-edited (with Stefan Hrastinski) a special issue of The Internet and Higher Education on Social Media in Higher Education.
Jennifer B. Myers is the ASSIST Project Director and an instructional designer and consultant at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in South Carolina. Additionally, she is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University in the Instructional Systems program under the College of Education. Previously, Myers worked as a middle school teacher in North Carolina and earned her Master’s degree in Instructional Systems at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has designed and developed a number of instructional courses and materials for a variety of organizations and audiences in the K-12, higher education, and non-profit sectors and has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in addition to her experiences teaching in K-12. She has presented her research at various professional conferences. Additionally, she is working on her dissertation examining self-regulated learning within an informal online community of practice. More broadly, her research interests surround informal learning, professional development, mentoring, self-regulated learning, social learning, knowledge brokering, and online communities of practice.