Landing : Athabascau University

Transitioning Between Online Learning Settings

Dron and Anderson (2009) described groups, networks, and collectives, and Downes (2009) refers to the importance of mesh networks. Efimova (2009) described her efforts as an autonomous, self-regulated blogger. However, these settings (aside from groups) do not match the current instructional settings that most new student bloggers encounter when first introduced to using online networks like ELGG. The learning settings described by these academics describe participants who already possess strong skills to navigate and collect and filter information, and are experienced in communicating to various audiences in different settings. This is not the case with most undergraduate and graduate students newly introduced to blogging within the social learning practice network. These newcomers to the cluster of online tools do not have the previous grounded experience and confidence. Oftentimes, instead of being a voluntary exploration, as is the case of professional academics, these learners are asked to navigate between their own individual blog, the class group blog, and other students’ blogs. However, little direct instruction is provided on how to autonomously coordinate their blogging activities between these three settings. Thus, the facilitator’s (or mentor’s) role from the outset is to provide the overall coordination of blogging activities for these learners, modeling and animating learners to engage as participants in specific group blog settings, with the notable exceptions of the larger learning circles and practice networks. Only through the development and eventual mastery of skills required for effective knowledge creation and network construction will student bloggers be confidently able to participate as self-regulated learners within practice “mesh” networks (Downes, 2009).



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