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We are living in an information age that is characterized by increasing information about everything and anything available anywhere and everywhere. And because our cognitive capacity is limited , knowledge can be held by many different people interacting through networks or communities .

So what is the difference between networks and communities and how connections between people and information sources might create opportunities for knowledge construction?

Communities and networks whether offline or online and even though they seem similar , differ on their structure , membership, goals , advantages and disadvantages ( Dron and Anderson,2014):

Structure: While a community has an intentional structure with strong ties , Networks have a more organic structures with at the same time strong and weak ties.

Membership: Membership is known in communities , whereas it’s flexible and changing in networks.

Goals: Members in communities have shared goals , whereas goals in networks are personal.

Advantages: While communities offer security through shared repertoire and mutual accountability ,networks have the capacity to meet egocentric needs and are source of innovation.

Disadvantages: Communities have the potential for inward focus and networks the potential for overwhelming amounts of information and ambiguity.

But how learning happens through these communities and networks ?

According to the networked learning theory information can come via multiple streams and we can receive these streams anywhere because of mobile technology . We can have many people and information sources communicating together in networks and information can be personalised to make it suitable to our needs .

Building on the networked learning theory is the theory of connectivism ( Downes,2004;Siemens,2005) which suggests that learning occurs through the connections between people, sources and the network and through connections between fields, ideas and concept.

So communities and networks are auspicious spaces for knowledge building (Bereiter and Scardamalia, 2003) which is considered as deep constructivism ( Piaget and Vigotsky) that involves making a collective inquiry into a pecific topic and coming to a deeper understanding through interactive questioning, dialogue and continuing improvement of ideas .

How learning occurs in the information age ?