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Symposium: Design Perspectives for Learning with Social Media: Reconciling Informal and Formal Learning through Web 2.0?

Symposium at Edmedia conference, 1st July 2010

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
30 June 2010

Andrew Ravenscroft,  Steven Warburton,  Stylianos Hatzipanagos,and Gráinne Conole 



Although the widespread use of social media reflects how Web 2.0 technologies have become embedded in our lives, there are still significant challenges in harnessing these and their related practices for learning. One expectation is that they will provide the means to reconcile informal and formal learning to allow for a more seamless transition between meaningful activity inside and outside of educational institutions or the workplace. But how do we support such processes or progressions? The approach adopted in this symposium is to see design, or learning design, as the key paradigm to address this challenge. But designing for this constantly evolving technological landscape creates new problems and complexities. This symposium will present different approaches to design from experts who specialise in the field of social software for learning, and who are concerned with both bridging informal and formal learning and questioning what we consider to be legitimate learning. 


  • Will design really make a difference to practice?
    • Role of theory?
      • Tensions with practice?
  • What are your own experiences of using social media for learning-teaching?
  • What social media tools do you use in your practice?


Extra content

Liveblog of Andrew Ravenscroft

Andrew introduces the symposium in terms of the focus of designing for this new landscape of social media.

Individuals have their own mix of media and devices, enabling them to work, learning, interact and communicate in different ways and different places.

We need to rethink design, across digital and real spaces, combine new approaches with the best of existing practices and approaches - the role of the library for example in the learning process.

How can we design to bridge between the digital learner and the stable learning-teaching environment.

Gráinne Conole
17:41 on 1 July 2010 (Edited 17:43 on 1 July 2010)

Andrew Ravenscroft

Large EU project development complex systems. 


  • New challenges for designing TEL which is suitable for the work place
  • Informal learning and knowledge maturing
  • Design methodology - design-based research - Deep Learning Design
  • The design methodology in Mature
  • Resulting TEL designs
  • Discussions and implications
Challenges for learning at work
  • We are increasing working in cyberspace, but also there is intense human communication and collaboration
  • How can we exploit learning rich workplace?
  • Social and semantic technologies
  • Participation, collaboration
Informal learning and knowledge maturing
  • In social web, someone puts out an informal idea and others reflect on and built on. Knowledge maturing is about informal learning and management. A means of capturing the informal, collecte knowledge. From individual ideas to collaborative fora and formalised knowledge. 
Design based research (DBR) and Deep Learning Design (DLP)
  • How do we design for complex and embedded systems, its a hard problem
  • We need to develop complex socio-technical systems and agile approaches
  • DLP is a hybrid between DBR and LD
The DLD methodology
  • Design studies - critical experiments in design
  • Use cases - as inclusive language of design
  • Demonstrators + evaluation = 'requirements in action'
  • Integrate the demonstrators into large-scale instantiations
Resulting designs
  • Assuring quality for social learning in content networks - using a media wiki. Allows the community to refine and sharing various documents. Has a visual interface. 
  • Collaborative development of understanding - mash up collaborative ontology. Collaborative ontology tool, you can bookmark in action resources you think might be useful for your community and these are organised into an ontology. Link critical dialogue about the resources to the resources themselves. 
  • People tagging through organisational development - Facebook for the workplace. Social bookmarking. Has controls about what is made public. Profiles can be assessed by others in their community. Can then search and find people to help with a specific problem. 
  • Learning by case tracking and mining *student recruitment' intelligent advisor linked to work flow patterns. 
Discussion and implications
  • Its hard - the innovation paradox
  • Designs never end
  • Ecosystems catalysing and supporting particular genres of digital literacy across technologies.


Gráinne Conole
17:55 on 1 July 2010 (Edited 18:02 on 1 July 2010)

Live blog of Steven Warburton's talk, given by Stylianos


  • A design pattern methodology for sharing expert knowledge in the use of web 2.0 technologies
  • Many practitioners who are successfully using new technologies, but a problem is how can we capture this knowledge to inform future designs.
  • The problem with good practices - unclear what we mean by good or bad, directive, decoupled from evidence base, decontextualised, contradictory, and closed. 


The approach


  • A design based approach for responding to a world of rapid technological change. But why design? Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. 1993 Simon
  • `Derived from Alexander's work in Architecture on patterns. 1995: Design Patterns in terms of reusable elements, 2009: Other areas - many authors and titles.
  • Why design patterns? Capture and reuse expert design knowledge, establish a common terminology and language, provide the necessary level of abstraction for solving novel problems, Transfer representations of practice that are appropriate to the individual users, present all the essential elements and encourage creative use.
  • Connects a problem with a context. A problem that occurs over and over in an environment.


Participatory pattern workshops


  • Case study workshop. Through this there is an initiative to have collaborative collective reflection to the sharing of good practice. By sharing of narratives and stories. Uses three hats idea - three people, one tells a story, the next captures it and the third tells the story. Table top concept mapping. 
  • Pattern mining workshop. People bring the cases and start to identify commonalities across the case studies and create some abstraction. Force mapping a concept map with all the tensions associated with a particular pattern.
  • Future scenarios workshop. They use the patterns in order to validate them. Try to apply them to new situations. There is some pattern mapping at this stage and a poster session where people present their patterns. 
Pattern Language Network
Digital identity project funded by Eduserve
Virtual worlds for education - MUUVEducation
Web 2.0 tools Planet project - JISC funded
Feedback and assessment - FEAST project, JISC funded
Sharing practice in TEL
Outputs to date: 195 case stories, 56 patterns, 56 scenarios
Aiming towards connections into a patterns language
Stylianos - live blog
Communities of Practice, Lave and Wenger 1991 People organising themselves into groups to carry out activities in professional setting and in education in formal and informal fashion. Highly popular across different disciplines including education. Success can be attributed to the innovative aspects of the theory and its aspirational nature in how professional communities learn.
But... criticisms
  • Question its almost universal applicability and claiming that it might be a useful heuristic rather than a proper educational theory
  • Two discourses and their associated supporters, Lave & Wenger and Wenger
CoP debates
  • formal/informal differentiation important as informal learning is not common in HE and formal groups cant become CoPs if informal learning aspects is not embedded in learning activities
  • Co-location is central to Lave and Wenger discourse but not in current HE practice
  • Students as newcomers to a CoP but necessarily engage in legitimate peripheral participation. Memberships expire in these student CoP. There are not many professional communities that can foster and adopt students as members
  • CoPs cant be created just because ICT in education can provide those opportunities that map against the framework of CoP. Open and Distance learners are disadvantage and co-presence can be erratic. 
Social media and user generated content. Collective and collaborative information is gather, shared, modified adn redistributed in creative acts. Personal sites ad content increasing. User controls the choice of appropriate tools. Collective intelligence of use is harnessed through aggregation and large scale cooperative activities.
Meta-analysis of social software book he co-edited. An important aspect of the book was that CoP was mentioned in 22 of the 30 odd chapters. Why was it claimed that a group became a CoP? How were media used for CoP? Was it just about tools or about learning design? 
Two categories of narratives i) conceptualisation ii) educational set-up
Case 1: context - what is the network about? An animation social media site. Tools and products interesting mixed, online galley, off campus access, process of documenting personal and group processes, peer benchmarking and critique. Methods how does the network function? animation enthusiasts.
  • Formal/informal relationship. Moving away from the design constraints imposed by VLE/LMS
  • Spaces - lots of discusion on this. Two important considerations: i) spaces for iteration and discussion of the common purpose ii) user configured spaces that represent the collective contributions of group members
  • Processes information and formal lines of communication, creating tools, ways for users to customise, links and reference ideas, create self help sub-groups as in ODL that can move between boundaries following a CoP trajectory
  • Assessment and feedback - opportunities to construct artefact for personal use or for assessment purposes. Formal/informal assessment places
Overall - not convince the notion of CoP is important as a full blown educational theory but still a using heuristic to support a community of learners in education.


Gráinne Conole
18:21 on 1 July 2010 (Edited 19:37 on 1 July 2010)

Citations for Peter Goodyear's recent work:

Goodyear, P. (2009). Teaching, technology and educational design: the architecture of productive learning environments. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council., P ALTC Fellowship report 2010.pdf


Goodyear, P., & Ellis, R. A. (2010). Expanding conceptions of study, context and educational design. In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham & S. de Freitas (Eds.), Rethinking learning for the digital age: how learners shape their own experiences. New York: Routledge.

Goodyear, P., & Retalis, S. (2010). Learning, technology and design. In P. Goodyear & S. Retalis (Eds.), Technology-enhanced learning: design patterns and pattern languages (Vol. 2, pp. 1-28). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Rob Phillips
18:54 on 1 July 2010

Live blog of Grainne's talk

Cloudworks as a community that encompasses multiple backgrounds and roles

Theoretical underpinnings that ave shaped the design of Cloudworks

Design frameworks in sociality.

There was an original vision shaped by the technical interventions, but also informed by social interventions.

Added functionality. The whole concept was an iterative approach in design.

Events that showcased the effectiveness of the system.

Attributes that draw from social media site design and successful features of other tools transposed to the context of Cloudworks.

Dialogic function very important. Rapid Aggregation, An expression space. Aggregating comments and conclusions.

Gofman’s ritual performance an influence.

Community indicators: to look at communities of practice

In terms of evaluating the collective.

Cloudscape (?) to provide help and guidance in the environment.

Name patterns of behaviour

Evolutionary design: going back to the simple notion of clouds


Stylianos Hatzipanagos
19:47 on 1 July 2010

Embedded Content

Conole - presentation on Slideshare

Conole - presentation on Slideshare

added by Gráinne Conole