7 – 20 November 2022
Is 1+1=2 or is there more to it? The coming two weeks will be all about learning in communities, networking and collaboration. Most of us have experience of group work, that for some reason hasn’t worked so well. It may have been cooperation rather than real collaboration or there may have been social loafing involved. So, how can we foster collaborative learning and how does this change the way we learn? How can networking, in this age of social media, be used for learning and how can we build Personal Learning Networks (PLN) to support this? Is there a recipe for making collaborative work a fruitful experience? To interact and learn together with peers in different formats has become an integral part of student centered education. Technology offers new opportunities for interaction and forming new kinds of social networks, including learners as well as facilitators and experts – but also offers challenges, such as keeping focus on learning processes, and not only tools, in online environments.

Activities for all learners

Common course events
Hope you can join this topic’s events!

Monday 7 November 11:00-12:00 (CET)
Webinar with Kay Oddone (Charles Sturt University, Australia) & Lotta Fröjdfeldt (Mälardalen University, Sweden).

Monday 14 November 11:00-12:00 (CET) 
Discussion webinar
with Kay and Lotta on developing learning communities and PLNsSee links in the right column.

Individual learning reflection:

Towards the end of the topic 3,  share your reflections in your post and if possible have a look at how others have captured their stories. Suggested themes for reflection in your learning reflections:

  • An occasion when real collaborative learning took place, that moved your own thinking forward
  • Your own Personal Learning Networks – how have they developed and how they could be taken further
  • Reflect on how you can use technologies to enable your own networks for learning processes

Don’t forget to read and comment on peer’s reflections!

PBL group work

For guidance on PBL group work including the FISh design please see Learning activities.
Here is this topic’s scenario to consider in your PBL group:


“So often when we ask students to collaborate, they see it as merely a way of distributing the workload, and not as an opportunity to build and consolidate their collaborative skills. They fall into old ways of working in groups where the task is divided and individuals complete their part individually, only really coming together at the end to bring it all together. I would like to design a learning opportunity that not only gets my students working together collaboratively, but which also influences their capacity for collaboration beyond the course. How can I get people to really recognize the value of becoming part of a learning community and experience the benefits of social learning?”

Readings and other resources

To watch

PLNs Theory and Practice by Kay Oddone, part 1.

PLNs Theory and Practice by Kay Oddone, part 2.

To read

Kalmar E, Aarts T, Bosman E, Ford C, de Kluijver L, Beets J, Veldkamp L, Timmers P, Besseling D, Koopman J, Fan C.(2022). The COVID-19 paradox of online collaborative education: when you cannot physically meet, you need more social interactions. Heliyon, 8(1), e08823. Available here.

Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?. The International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(2), 26-44. Available here.

Further optional

Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London. Available here.

Anderson, T. (2008). Teaching in an online learning context. In The theory and practice of online learning (pp. 343-395). Athabasca university press. Available here.

Dron, J. & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching crowds: Learning and social media. Athabasca University Press. Available here.


By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to

  • discuss networked and collaborative learning in the digital age
  • reflect on and take part in establishing learning communities
  • reflect on how your own Personal Learning Networks (PLN) can be developed
  • inquire into collaborative learning and community features related to a specific scenario


webinarWebinar Monday 7 November 11:00-12:00 (CET)

with Kay Oddone & Lotta Fröjdfeldt, (check your timezone)

Discussion webinar Monday 14 November, 11:00-12:00 (CET).

with Kay Oddone & Lotta Fröjdfeldt, (check your timezone)


During this topic I have:

  • Attended at least two of the PBL group online meetings
  • Read and watched the recommended resources for the topic
  • Contributed actively to the group work on the scenario
  • Contributed actively to the group discussion
  • Commented on some peer’s blog posts
  • Written my reflective blog post on topic 3
  • Studied the recommended resources for this topic.