Landing : Athabascau University

Week 1: Introduction to Networked Learning: Revision

Last updated April 19, 2010 - 6:46am by George Siemens

Social networked learning has received significant attention over the last decade. But in many ways, it's an overnight success story that is a century in the making. People have always learned in social networks: early farmers teaching their children the skills of farming, spiritual leaders passing knowledge of the elders to the next generation, the guilds of Europe. Today, networks are more pronounced because the internet makes explicit much of the information transfer that used to be unnoticed, except for those directly involved in the exchange.

Social learning has grown in prominence over the last century as well. Theorists (such as Vygotsky, Bruner, and Bandura) have emphasized the need for social interaction in the learning process. More recently, communities of practice (by Lave & Wenger) have highlighted the importance of working in social systems. 

Taken together, social and networked learning offer the potential of dramatically altering teaching and learning.

Why should *you* care? Why should Athabasca University care?

Athabasca has, I believe, a unique opportunity to become the leading international research centre in advancing social networked learning in online and distance environments. While many universities are beginning to awake to the potential of online and open learning, AU has a long history in this space. The expertise that now exists within AU will, to varying degrees, be developed in other institutions over the next decade. Quite simply, the world is trending to online networked social learning, and AU has significant expertise in this area. This course is about capacity building, to enable AU and faculty and staff to embrace developing opportunities.


History of Networked Learning: provides an overview of how networked learning has evolved over the last several decades. 

Social Networking (.pdf): 

Optional Readings:

What is Connectivism? : A short overview of different theories of learning

The Unique Idea in Connectivism: Title sums it up - a comparison of theories of learning.

Your Activities:

- View the course intro video:
- Login to the Landing using your AU account. Start by completing as much of your profile as you feel comfortable sharing with others. 
- Write an introductory blog post on why you are here and what you hope to accomplish by taking this course
- Attend the weekly Elluminate session on Tuesday at 3 pm MST here:
- Review weekly readings.
- To help us improve the Landing, at the conclusion of the week, post a short blog post on your experiences with the software: what do you like? what don't you like? suggestions for improvement? We will ask you to complete this reflection each week, as this provides us with valuable guidance on how to improve the system.