Self-Organization in Social Software for Learning

Self-Organization in Social Software for Learning

Jon Dron (Athabasca University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-984-7.ch023
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The Internet has long been touted as an answer to the needs of adult learners, providing a wealth of resources and the means to communicate in many ways with many people. This promise has been rarely fulfilled and, when it is, often by mimicking traditional instructor-led processes of education. As a large network, the Internet has characteristics that differentiate it from other learning environments, most notably due to its size: the sum of the value of a network increases as the square of the number of members (Kelly, 1998), even before aggregate effects are considered. Churchill (1943) said, “We shape our dwellings and afterwards our dwellings shape us.” If this is true of buildings then it is even more so of the fluid and ever-changing virtual environments made possible by the Internet. Our dwellings are no longer fixed but may be molded by the people that inhabit them. This article discusses a range of approaches that make use of this affordance to provide environments that support groups of adult learners in their learning needs.

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