As social technology use is increasing in e-learning, so is the need to complement theoretical work with studies of learner experiences of the new dynamics of e-learning to guide this development. We studied how 15 learners experienced social media tools in a long continuous professional development (CPD) pilot training tailored for a large insurance company. While the training included some contact lectures, it was mainly conducted through blog, wiki, chat, and discussion forum tools. As we have already discussed forum and chat use in another paper on a shorter CPD training (with 40 learners) and this study confirmed the results, we focus here on learner experiences of wiki and blog.
While the wiki process was widely misunderstood, wiki and blog experiences organically led learners to consider their uses as a personal learning environment.
As to blog, the learners who saw it as a tool for self-reflection perceived it positively while others did not, underlining that the benefits and goals of using social tools need to be explicated. Furthermore, social learning process needs to be designed and maintained, as busy workplace learners tend to focus on fulfilling requirements. Simply adding social technology does not necessarily lead to social e-learning.
Via Paulo Simões