The power of informal learning: A social network perspective
Dr Bart Rienties Reader in Learning Analytics

This event took place on 2nd April 2014 at 11:30am (10:30 GMT)
Knowledge Media Institute, Berrill Building, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, MK7 6AA

Across the globe, people follow formal and informal training & professional development programmes in order to further update and fine-tune their skills, knowledge and competences. While some programmes indicate positive learning effects, the degree to which people share their expertise beyond the “class/training room” has received limited empirical attention. Methods like Social Network Analysis (SNA) can allow researchers to make informal relations amongst participants and people outside the PD visible, thereby potentially improving our understanding of the impact of professional development activities. The prime goal of seminar is to understand to what extent students/learners/professionals developed internal (within their formal programme) and external (outside their programme) social relations. Closed- and open-network analyses combined with qualitative analyses were implemented. A synthesis of several blended (Hommes et al., 2012; Rienties, Hernandez Nanclares, Hommes, & Veermans, 2014; Rienties, Johan, & Jindal-Snape, 2014; Rienties & Nolan, 2014) and online studies (Rienties et al., 2012) will be presented to highlight the opportunities and limitations of SNA for understanding (in)formal learning.

Reference
Hommes, J., Rienties, B., de Grave, W., Bos, G., Schuwirth, L., & Scherpbier, A. (2012). Visualising the invisible: a network approach to reveal the informal social side of student learning. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 17(5), 743-757. doi: 10.1007/s10459-012-9349-0
Rienties, B., Giesbers, B., Tempelaar, D. T., Lygo-Baker, S., Segers, M., & Gijselaers, W. H. (2012). The role of scaffolding and motivation in CSCL. Computers & Education, 59(3), 893-906. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.04.010
Rienties, B., Hernandez Nanclares, N., Hommes, J., & Veermans, K. (2014). Understanding Emerging Knowledge Spillovers in Small-group Learning Settings; a Networked Learning Perspective. In V. Hodgson, M. De Laat, D. McConnell & T. Ryberg (Eds.), The Design, Experience and Practice of Networked Learning (Vol. 7, pp. 127-148). Dordrecht: Springer.
Rienties, B., Johan, N., & Jindal-Snape, D. (2014). A dynamic analysis of social capital-building of international and UK students. British Journal of Sociology of Education. doi: 10.1080/01425692.2014.886941
Rienties, B., & Nolan, E.-M. (2014). Understanding friendship and learning networks of international and host students using longitudinal Social Network Analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.12.003


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