Title: A survey on social network sites to determine requirements for learning networks for professional development of university staff

Authors: Francis Brouns, Adriana J. Berlanga, Sibren Fetter, Marlies E. Bitter-Rijpkema, Jan M. Van Bruggen, Peter B. Sloep

Addresses: Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open Universiteit Nederland, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open Universiteit Nederland, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open Universiteit Nederland, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open Universiteit Nederland, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open Universiteit Nederland, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC), Open Universiteit Nederland, P.O. Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands

Abstract: Learning networks – online social networks where the learner is put central – are well suited for the non-formal professional development of academic staff. Our assumption is that learning networks can build on social network sites. Social network sites are becoming very popular and are very effective in connecting people, allowing exchange and sharing of all kinds of information and resources. Therefore, we designed a survey to explore the use and perception of social network sites among academic staff and to relate this to the functionalities required for learning networks for professional development. The survey results indicate that a learning network should cater for the desired social aspects along with facilities to organise and maintain resources and contacts.

Keywords: learning networks; social learning; professional development; university staff; usage survey; social network sites; social networking; continuing professional development; CPD; competence development; non-formal learning; online communities; virtual communities; web based communities; higher education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.041200

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.3, pp.298 - 311

Published online: 13 Jul 2011 *

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