Title: Learning relations and networks in web-based communities

Authors: Caroline Haythornthwaite

Addresses: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 501 East Daniel St., Champaign, IL, USA

Abstract: Learning entails exchange of information, resources, methods and practices; it entails conversation, and the co-creation of joint practice; it requires getting to know colleagues, their talents and their work practices, and joining a community of scholars, co workers and co-learners. In short, learning is predicated on interaction between individuals, interactions that build into communities that share common knowledge and practice. But what kinds of interactions are important for learning, and how do these help build and form a learning community? And how is this different or the same when accomplished in a web-based environment? Drawing on literature on learning, community and computer-mediated communication, and on results of a number of studies of learning networks conducted by the author, this paper addresses learning communities from a social network perspective, including what relations are evident in learning and learning communities, how media affect online tie formation, and what benefits can result from successfully maintained learning networks.

Keywords: learning communities; social networks; online communities; computer-mediated communication; CMC; latent ties; learning networks; learning relations; web based communities; learning interaction; virtual communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2008.017669

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2008 Vol.4 No.2, pp.140 - 158

Published online: 26 Mar 2008 *

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