Fostering Social Capital in a Learning Network: Laying the Groundwork for a Peer-Support Service

Sibren Fetter, Peter Sloep, A.J. Berlanga Flores

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    Abstract

    In online learning environments communities are desirable, or as is the case for a learning network, even essential. This raises the question of how to attain and sustain these communities. In this article we argue that this can be achieved by fostering the social capital of the learning network. It is argued that this can be achieved by (1) improving the relationship characteristics, (2) increasing the sense of belonging to the community, and (3) heightening the mutual support. It is hypothesized that these improvements can be achieved by using so called Ad-Hoc Transient Groups (AHTGs). These groups are a means through which learners are brought together for a specific, learning-related goal (‘ad-hoc’) and for only a limited amount of time (‘transience’). In order to deepen the concept of AHTGs a relevant theoretical background as well as requirements for peer-support service that utilizes Ad-Hoc Transient groups is provided. This is followed by an example on how the service can be implemented in an existing learning network (eTwinning). Finally conclusions are drawn and future research discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)388-400
    JournalInternational Journal of Learning Technology
    Volume5
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Ad Hoc Transient Groups
    • Social Networks
    • Social Capital
    • AHTG
    • Peer support
    • Theoretical framework
    • learner support service
    • Sense of Belonging
    • Social network structure
    • Social Support

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