Learning Networks for Professionals
|Objective||Research the power for professional development of networked learning with social media|
|Target users||Professionals, Human Resource Managers, Managers of SMEs, Employment Agencies, Regions, Cities, Unions, Sector Organisations, innovaotors in education and training|
|Programme director||Prof. dr. Peter Sloep|
The Learning Networks programme specifically addresses the needs of professional learners. Its point of departure are the individual professional's employability concerns, translated into competence development needs and catered for in ways that best serve their interests. The assumption of the programme is that a Learning Network is a suitable tool to develop the competences professionals qua learners need. Here, a Learning Network is a particular kind of online social network, designed to support non-formal and lifelong learning in a particular domain.
The research in the Learning Networks programme aims to answer the question of how a network structure can be designed and developed that produces the expected results in terms of learner outcomes and economic viability. The programme seeks to answer this question by contributing to concept, theory and model building and by designing and developing a range of support services that sustain learning professionals in a Learning Network.
The programme carries out its research & development under three thematic headings.
Professional learning (theme leader: dr. Jo Boon)
This theme focuses on competence development for professionals. It researches such notions as competence, competence development, competence maps and how they may be operationalised in concrete cases. This includes questions on collecting, storing, valuing and making available pertinent data, as well as on the relevance of, for example, the IMS Eportfolio and the HR-XML specifications. Ultimately, these insights should result in the development of services that help learners to delineate competence paths, to find appropriate learning activities, to obtain an assessment of their prior competences, to have their development certified, etc.
Networked learning (theme leader: dr. Jan van Bruggen)
A Learning Network above all offers opportunities to its members to engage online with each other and share knowledge and experiences in a non-formal learning setting. This prompts the question of what structure of communities, that jointly constitute the network, is most conducive to this end. Questions regarding self-organisation and its design, regarding motivation, trust and incentive structures are key. This theme researches the concepts, theories and models that underpin optimal network and community structures. In the end, services will be developed that allow appropriate forms of self-organisation to thrive and inappropriate ones to whither, to foster trust formation, to set up adequate incentive structure (if any), etc.
Social media (theme leader: dr. Adriana Berlanga)
This theme researches and particularly designs, develops and evaluates a variety of tools and methods that underpin the overall architecture of a Learning Network as well as the services that it needs to function properly. The architecture question relates to the general design of a Learning Network, one that best supports its function of an online social network. Services should help learners with such matters as planning their competence development trajectory, choosing learning activities that are best this trajectory and various preferences they have, finding fellow Learning Networks participants with shared interests, acquiring library services, etc.