Previous research has recognized that networked learning—including the use of social media, blogs, and learning communities—offers unique affordances for supporting the development of self-efficacy. However, additional research is needed to examine applications of networked learning that integrate professional contexts into academic learning experiences. The present study reports on an intervention in which networked learning was used to promote student self-efficacy for social networking and professional development. The learning design integrates three techniques: a focus on developing personal learning networks, a blog-based learning community, and mastery experiences for networking with professionals. The hypothesis was that networked learning among peers in the learning community would help support the gradual development of skills and confidence for social networking, while networking to learn with professionals would amplify the impact of mastery experiences on student self-efficacy. A study of 72 undergraduate business students found that the intervention led to significant gains in self-efficacy for social networking and professional development activities. Students also reported a greater likelihood of engaging in these activities in the following year. Finally, students perceived the learning experience as relevant for their lifelong learning and professional success.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was generously supported by the University of Minnesota Office of Information Technology Faculty Fellowship Program and by a Chancellor's Cabinet Strategic Grant from the University of Minnesota Duluth . The Faculty Fellowship Program provided research consultation and supported the Institutional Review Board process for this study.
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- Networked learning
- Personal learning networks
- Social networking