Reading Summary (6): Social Learning Networks

Interactivity & Networking

Social Learning Networks: Build Mobile Learning Networks Based on Collaborative Services

Jeff J.S. Huang, Stephen  J.H.Yang, Yueh-Min Huang, and Indy Y.T Hsiao

This article explains that since the rise of Web 2.0 online communities have grown immensely popular, such as Facebook. A major characteristic of Web 2.0 is the online knowledge sharing network formed by interpersonal interactions. From this proposal of online shared knowledge a case study was performed to research whether you could create study groups from social networking sites. To begin, the researchers decided that humans are the content producers (humans come with knowledge and are an intelligent resource). Volunteers were asked of share their interests with the use of a bookmarking site called del.icio.us and also the researchers pulled their library history (from the school) to know what books they checked out. From there people were paired with others based on the tags/interests they submitted. By using a tag-based profile you can give more recommendations than standard object based user profiles. If users can find people who share the same interest with them, they may interact with each other. The last stage of the experiment was to make the volunteers Facebook profiles available to those who had high potential connection based on their similar interest.

This case study concluded that collaborative services,  like social networking sites, can help learners find their learning partners and it is also suggested that social bookmarking sites, like del.icio.us, are a good base to also find co-interested learning partners.

I find this article to touch on a relevant subject for those who are in secondary school. Although social networking sites, like Facebook, are hardly used for ‘study group’ type relationships. These types of sites are built on acquaintances based relationships and networking needs. It is true you will meet ‘friends’ though events that impose the similar interest standard, but it does not mean that interest continues on Facebook. This study reminded me of an educational system already implied that caterers to this need, which is liberal study courses (which are courses that are mandatory for graduation, but are not related to your major). From person experience this is how I have meet friends outside of my program and created study groups for that particular course. Although when there is a single cause for a friendship, such as a study group, it may not be as likely that the friendship surpasses the semester of the course because the individuals will not see each other on a regular basis or may not have reason to communicate further.

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