Efimova, L. & Fiedler. S. (2004). Learning webs: Learning in weblog networks. Proceedings of the 2004 IADIS International Conference on Web Based Communities.
This article explores how professionally oriented weblog projects support the emergence of loosely coupled learning networks. We provide an overview of the technical infrastructure of this particular form of personal webpublishing and the social ecosystems that emerge through current weblog authoring practices. Furthermore, we suggest that some weblog ecosystems can be conceptualized as learning webs. These learning webs appear to meet the specific needs of knowledge workers for flexible and dynamic learning environments. Some preliminary results of qualitative data collection in this area are shared and some further lines of research are proposed.
Ecosystems of weblogs seem to support peer-filtering of ideas and serendipitous connections between people based on their interests. At the same time their open-ended nature allows going beyond “group think” by supporting diversity and bringing together multiple perspectives and backgrounds.
A weblog provides its author with personal space for learning that does not impose a communal learning agenda and learning style. At the same time learners are not alienated and can benefit from a community feedback, validation and further development of ideas.
Regular reading of other weblogs provides novices with opportunities to learn from experts’ “thinking in public”, selecting role models and engaging in conversations beyond geographical or disciplinary borders.
These published and continuously updated collections of artifacts form a dynamic and constantly changing, largely de-centralized ecosystem for self-organized learning and social networking.