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Rita Kop Thesis May10

Rita Kop Thesis May10

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Published by Rita Kop
PhD Thesis - Networked Connectivity and Adult
Learning: Social Media, the Knowledgeable
Other and Distance Education
PhD Thesis - Networked Connectivity and Adult
Learning: Social Media, the Knowledgeable
Other and Distance Education

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Published by: Rita Kop on Jun 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Networked Connectivity and Adult Learning: Social Media, the KnowledgeableOther and Distance Education
Frederika Gerlanda KopSubmitted to the University of Wales in fulfilment of therequirements for the Degree of Doctor of PhilosophySwansea UniversityMay 2010
iABSTRACTOver the past decades, information technology has had a disruptive effect on adulteducation. Today, learners can access libraries from their pocket and shape their thoughts while socializing on networks. The position of educators as ‘knowledgeableothers’ has been challenged as experts can be found online and learners can controltheir 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 epistemologicaltransformation. It investigates the position of the learner in the learning experienceand his/her level of control in comparison to the tutor and the institution. It examineshow social media can be used effectively in communication in learning. Thislongitudinal qualitative study shows how students, tutors and staff negotiated theintricacies of social media in a formal adult education setting. The researcher surveyed learners participating in three online networks and immersed herself in onefor nine months.The results show that Web 2.0 technologies can facilitate a high level of communication amongst learners and educators, and consequently raise the level of “presence” in the online environment. New technologies were seen to foster engagement and self-directed learning. The role of adult educators was seen ascrucial for all learners, and for those displaying higher levels of autonomy, theeducator was perceived as a trusted “human filter” of information.The research adds to the under-conceptualized field of networked learning in theWeb 2.0 era, and challenges the notion that knowledge and learning arerevolutionized by new social media. It shows that a trusted “knowledgeable other” isstill at the heart of a meaningful learning experience. Finally, the thesis providesrecommendations for adult educators and institutions to enhance their effectivenessin networked environments characterized by changing attitudes toward interactionfor learning.
iiDECLARATION AND STATEMENTSThis thesis has not previously been accepted in substance for any degree and is notconcurrently submitted in candidature for any degree.This thesis is the result of my own investigations, except when otherwise stated.Other sources are acknowledged in brackets in the text giving explicit references. A bibliography is appended.I grant powers of discretion for the librarian to photocopy this thesis in whole or in part without consulting me and to make the thesis available for inter-library loans.This permission covers only single copies made for study purposes, subject to normalconditions of acknowledgement. I have no objections for the title page and summaryto be made available to outside organizations.Signed: Date: 20
May 2010Copyright © Frederika G. Kop, May 2010

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