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Online people tagging: Social Mobile Networking Services in Work-based Learning, John Cook, London Metropolitan University, and Norbert Pachler, Institute of Educati
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18 November 2011
Social and mobile technologies offer users unprecedented opportunities for communicating, interacting, sharing, meaning-making, content and context generation etc. And, these affordances are in constant flux driven by a powerful interplay between technological innovation and emerging cultural practices. Significantly, also, they are starting to transcend the everyday lifeworlds of users and permeate the workplace and its practices. The focus of this paper, therefore, will be on a medium sized research and development project in the area of online people tagging in work-based contexts, MATURE (social learning in work-based knowledge networks). The project has taken a participatory, educational design research approach to investigate how social media can mediate “informal learning” in the workplace. The paper will initially provide a critical overview of key issues from the literature on social (mobile) networking services. It will then introduce an extend a typology of informal workplace learning (Eraut, 2004) that takes into account our review of social mobile networking services. We then provide an outline the characteristics of people tagging in digital social networks in MATURE and how the concepts can be seen to relate to each other, using a recent evaluation study to illustrate aspects of our extended typology. The paper will conclude by exploring tentative implications for work-based (work-located) learning of people tagging.