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Review of Learning in ICT-enabled Networks and Communities

  • Authors: Kirsti Ala-Mutka
  • EUR Number: 24061 EN
  • Publication date: 10/2009

Abstract

This report is part of a project launched by IPTS with DG Education and Culture to study the innovations for learning, which are emerging in the new collaborative and informal settings enabled by ICT. The report gathers and analyses evidence from learning opportunities that are emerging in ICT-enabled networks and communities. In these new virtual spaces, participation is motivated by an interest to a topic, by creative production and by search for social connection. Online networks and communities emerge both within and across organisations as well as in a completely open and bottom-up manner. Accessing, following, and contributing to the communities can lead to a range of learning outcomes. New technologies afford tools and means for people to participate in communities in a personally meaningful way. However, not all individuals are necessarily equipped with skills or knowledge to benefit from these opportunities for their lifelong learning. Major challenges relate both to the initial barriers for accessing online communities with confident and critical digital competence and skills for self-regulated learning. Finding ways to identify, assess and certify relevant learning and new skills that can be obtained and practised in these environments is a major task. The report argues that educational institutions should find ways to connect with and learn from these new learning approaches and settings in order to bring about their own transformation for the 21st century, and to support competence building for new jobs and personal development with a learner-centred and lifelong perspective.

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