Networked Connectivity and Adult Learning – Social Media the Knowledgeable Other and Distance Education

Over the past decades, information technology has had a disruptive effect on adult education. Today, learners can access libraries from their pocket and shape their thoughts while socializing on networks. The position of educators as ‘knowledgeable others’ has been challenged as experts can be found online and learners can control their own learning. Social media are changing adult education, because they offer tremendous potential to enhance learning processes. But do they really? This doctoral thesis questions the connectivist premise of epistemological transformation. It investigates the position of the learner in the learning experience and his/her level of control in comparison to the tutor and the institution. It examines how social media can be used effectively in communication in learning. The research adds to the under-conceptualized field of networked learning in the Web 2.0 era, and challenges the notion that knowledge and learning are revolutionized by new social media. It shows that a trusted “knowledgeable other” is still at the heart of a meaningful learning experience. Finally, the thesis provides recommendations for adult educators and institutions to enhance their effectiveness in networked environments characterized by changing attitudes toward interaction for learning.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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