In these critical Covid-19 times, HE institutions need to respond to the transition to online and blended learning and the networked student. This chapter presents an analysis of the size, use and preferences of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). Using a novel Framework which conceptualises PLNs as egocentric interaction networks consisting of an Interaction Mode, an Interaction Purpose and an Interaction Endpoint and indicating Network Size (number of nodes), Network Use (interaction frequency) and Network Preferences.
Quantitative survey data was collected through the ‘Learning in the Network Age’ FutureLearn MOOC from 842 individuals in 92 different countries, with responses visualised in real-time as online network maps. Statistical analysis indicated that where we live, our attitude to technology, and whether we are at work or leisure significantly affects the size of our PLN. How we use our PLN is significantly impacted by our gender, life stage, main activity and attitude to technology. This causes differences in the size and use of a PLN. In contrast, our interaction preferences are barely impacted by any of these factors and shows considerable homogeneity between diverse people.
The data also indicated that HE student’s networks undergo growth and important changes to use and interaction preference on entering University.
- Personal Learning Network
- Networked learning
- Analysis framework
- Quantitative analysis
- Statistical significance testing
- Contextual factors
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Fair, N.S.R. (2021). A Framework for the Analysis of Personal Learning Networks. In: Dohn, N.B., Hansen, J.J., Hansen, S.B., Ryberg, T., de Laat, M. (eds) Conceptualizing and Innovating Education and Work with Networked Learning. Research in Networked Learning. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85241-2_12
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