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Challenge 4: The Social Learning Challenge

Introduction

The social aspects of learning have already been addressed in Unit 3, where you were introduced to the ways in which other people can contribute to your learning—for example, the members of a community of practice to which you belong.

The Web offers many different opportunities for social learning, from informal interest groups such as those on the social media site Facebook, to the more structured online learning communities that accompany many distance education courses. While it is possible to just jump in and begin participating in an online community, you can increase the chances of having a positive learning experience by learning how to adapt your communication style to suit this medium and learning about how to keep yourself safe online.

Why Complete this Challenge?

Completing the Social Learning Challenge gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your:

  • Ability to participate in and contribute to an online learning community.
  • Understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of online learning communities.
  • Knowledge of good practice in online learning community participation.

The skills you will develop through completing the Social Learning Challenge, and the knowledge that you will gain, can be applied in many different contexts and have value outside academic study. For example, you will learn how to make the most of participating in online learning communities and you may find this valuable should you join (or already belong to) an online community connected with a personal interest. You will also learn about how to adjust your communication skills to be appropriate to online discussion, and will learn some important safety guidlines for working online.

Employers are likely to find such skills and knowledge very useful, both in terms of your ability to adapt your communication style to suit different settings, and in terms of your understanding of the potential offered by the Web for learning in online communities.

What's Involved?

The required activities for the challenge are:

You will be prompted to complete these activities as you work through Unit 4. As with all of the other challenges, the Social Learning Challenge is entirely optional and it is possible to study Unit 4 (and, if desired, to complete Challenge 5: The Action Plan Challenge) without participating in the Learning to Learn online forum activities.

What Evidence Will be Generated for this Challenge?

Your Learning to Learn Activity Record will show that you have completed this challenge. You will be able to download, save and/or print your Activity Record. You will also be able to save and print your online forum contributions to use in conjunction with your Activity Record, as evidence of your skills.

You should now return to Unit 4: Where Next?