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Learning in Informal Online Networks and Communities

  • Authors: Kirsti Ala-Mutka
  • EUR Number: 24149 EN
  • Publication date: 2/2010

Abstract

In 2008, as part of its policy support for DG Education and Culture, IPTS launched a study to explore the innovative social and pedagogical approaches to learning that are emerging in new ICT-enabled collaborative settings. This is the final report on the project. Lifelong learning plays a crucial role in society today as jobs, and the skills they require, are changing. Recent technological and social developments in online settings have the potential to support lifelong learning in new ways. Online collaborative spaces can support both intentional and non-intentional learning in new ways through various forms of participation. These online platforms, networks and communities support learning all the key competences for lifelong learning, including new transversal skills and personal growth in a social context. However, ensuring digital fluency and self-regulated learning skills for all becomes a crucial challenge and enabler for lifelong learning. Furthermore, individuals need to be prepared for and interested in learning. Communities can encourage their members to participate and learn with a sociable, openly-managed and developing culture. The report argues that online networks and communities can contribute to all the major European Education and Training policy objectives, i.e. modernising educational institutions to support the lifelong learning continuum with new opportunities for equity, quality and efficiency, and learning key competences and transversal skills. However, a new learner-centred approach for lifelong learning by learners, education providers and employers is needed. All education stakeholders should engage in developing lifelong learning opportunities through collaboration and new partnerships.

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