TitelWhat are the Driving Forces behind Informal Learning in Social Media?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRehm, M, Littlejohn, A, Rienties, B
Conference NameComputational Social Science Winter Symposium
KeywordsInformal Learning, Self-Regulated Learning, social capital, Social Media, Twitter, Wiki

Teachers need to increasingly develop and implement new, collaborative approaches to learning. However, teachers should not rely on formal roles and institutions to support them. Instead, they should rather draw on (informal) learning networks that allow them to share ideas and collaboratively reflect on their practice. Nowadays, an increasing amount of social media platforms are available, wherein individuals can communicate with each another. These platforms constitute social opportunity spaces, which provide the meta-context wherein informal learning processes are stimulated. In order to analyze these spaces, we combine self-regulated learning and social capital theory, thereby integrating two mutually conversant views about how people behave and decide to participate in (in)formal learning activities, from both an individual and a collaborative perspective. Moreover, by employing 1- and 2-Mode social network analysis, based on data from Twitter and Wikimedia, we are able to identify different types of informal learners, which can be considered for other, similar activities that aim at enhancing the professional development of individuals.

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