Visualizing social learning ties by type and topic: rationale and concept demonstrator

Schreurs, Bieke; Teplovs, Chris; Ferguson, Rebecca; De Laat, Maarten and Buckingham Shum, Simon (2013). Visualizing social learning ties by type and topic: rationale and concept demonstrator. In: Third Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK 2013), 8-12 Apr 2013, Leuven, Belgium, ACM, pp. 33–37.



Social Learning Analytics (SLA) are designed to support students learning through social networks, and reflective practitioners engage in informal learning through a community of practice. This short paper reports work in progress to develop SLA motivated specifically by Networked Learning Theory, drawing on the related concepts and tools of Social Network Analytics and Social Capital Theory, which provide complementary perspectives onto the structure and content of such networks. We propose that SLA based on these perspectives needs to devise models and visualizations capable of showing not only the usual SNA metrics, but the types of social tie forged between actors, and topic-specific subnetworks. We describe a technical implementation demonstrating this approach, which extends the Network Awareness Tool by automatically populating it with data from a social learning platform SocialLearn. The result is the ability to visualize relationships between people who interact around the same topics.

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