Leveraging Social Networks for Authentic Learning in Distance Learning Teacher Education
Authentic learning, Distance education, Online learning, Social media, Social networks, Teacher education
This research examined how leveraging social networks in distance learning facilitated authentic learning in a 4-week teacher-education course. The pilot study aimed to examine the course design, and learner perceptions of social networks in distance learning. The course design was structured around nine principles of the authentic learning framework (Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver, 2010) for sustained dialogue, reflective thinking, and relevance. The intent was to facilitate authentic learning contexts, participatory activities, access to experts, collaboration, multiple perspectives, reflection, articulation, scaffolding, and authentic assessment. Synchronous and asynchronous communication was used to deliver content. Data sources included the design of learning tasks with social networks, semi-structured interviews (N = 7) with a convenient sample of graduate students, and a survey questionnaire to evaluate students’ perception (N = 8) of authentic learning and social presence in the course. Data analysis involved analyzing the course design, and participants’ perception of authentic learning and social presence in distance learning. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed, and analyzed for students’ perception of social networks in distance learning. A participant member-checked the themes for validity. The findings indicated that the course design facilitated authentic learning with meaningful social interaction and engagement. Participant perceptions indicated that the social networks facilitated authentic communication, connections, community, student agency, self-regulation, peer and instructor feedback, and personalized learning in distance learning. Perceived challenges were related to access, navigation, sustained interest, initial reluctance, and managing the simultaneous use of various social media. Implications may inform teacher educators about leveraging social networks for authentic learning across various disciplines.
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Gurjar, Nandita, "Leveraging Social Networks for Authentic Learning in Distance Learning Teacher Education" (2020). Faculty Publications. 288.