Social layer in learning

Following up from my previous thoughts on the use of social computing in learning

I’ve had several conversations about how to incorporate social computing technology into learning experiences. At the time I thought of it in two ways:

  • Embedded – that is, having something built into the learning experience itself that learners could access while completing the training program.
  • Ongoing community – where learners could then gather after the training event and continue to expand and deepen their understanding.

Well, now I’m seeing it a bit differently … that there is some social layer throughout the learning experience – before, during, and after the learning or training event.

Social Layer in Learning

The social layer persists. At the beginning of the learning (towards the left of the diagram) the learners engage with the material (the education) before and during the event; and they have a social layer to assist in that engagement. This layer can include a variety of things from an activity stream, to informal telephone calls, posting their experiences or ideas to some common blog, etc.

During the event, when they are engaging with other learners they still access conversations, ideas, and experiences through this social layer.

And it continues after the training event … The learners continue to interact with others via a social layer. As more and more individuals complete the training, they are interacting with folks who may not have been in the same event as they – but who still have similar experiences, questions, ideas, etc. These groups make up the beginnings of communities.


About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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