Research Log of Web Science Students

Computer Science is not simply programming

Social Learning

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No it’s not socialized learning like our tuition fee. It’s A social networking platform for learning, one of the many features we hope to have in Hardwire.


Stephen Downes drew the line between formal learning and informal learning. Social learning is informal. Formal learning is what I am doing in UP.

Why informal learning?
One of my reviews told me that 80% of learning is informal and only 20% is the sort that society puts a premium on. 80%  is  a lot learning that’s not given recognition! With the internet (forums, help groups and blogs) maybe informal learning will account for more. I am not so sure if that review factored in informal learning done on the
internet. But at least we can be sure of the 80%!

Pros of informal learning
The difference from formal learning is that informal learning is a personal effort fueled by problems, interests (not institutional or industry standards) etc What I like about it the most is that it gives the learner a lot of freedom in terms of how to go about learning. In a normal class setting the teacher has control of everything from the learning objectives to the methodologies (project, machine problems, seatworks). This is a bit too constricting if not boring for some students because not everyone likes doing projects/machine problems and seatworks. But in most cases, students don’t have a choice.

I believe social learning will work especially on the web.
One reason why is because web 2.0 software is more relevant to young people than books or lectures.

With the power of the internet, social learning is a mere code away! Actually it’s probably already here with systems like elgg being very popular in the edublogosphere. Imagine for a second if facebook were only used for learning — initiating a dialogue with people who are pursuing the same objectives, sharing links and courses and creating new course materials.

Ok, I take back what I said. Social learning is not entirely here. Elgg is hack and facebook well facebook is not known for learning as it is for mafia wars. With hardwire we hope to make this a reality! 🙂

Written by Jose Asuncion

August 31, 2009 at 11:03 am

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