Caroline A. HaythornthwaiteFollow


Caroline Haythornthwaite:

Document Type





networked learrning, e-learning, learning analytics, learning networks




Social Science and Humanities Research Council

Funding ID

Learning Analytics for the Social Media Age


With thanks to my fellow researchers on the "Project on Learning Analytics for the Social Media Age": Anatoliy Gruzd, Marc Esteve del Valle, Drew Paulin, Sarah Gilbert, Rafa Absar


Library and Information Science | Online and Distance Education


As networked learning leaves designed spaces and becomes diffused and re-infused through open, online information sharing and knowledge construction, what metaphors will frame our next steps, our next inquiries? In keeping with the conference theme of ‘Looking Back – Moving Forward’, this presentation will engage with where we are in the sea of change, and how our current understanding of networks, learning and knowledge will take us forward into new areas of inquiry. Elsewhere I have been advocating for a reclamation of the term ‘e-learning’ that takes us beyond the design and use of the closed LMS and VLE systems to grapple with the open conditions of learning on and through the Internet, and the transformative effect this has on roles and relations associated with learning and knowledge practices (Haythornthwaite & Andrews, 2011; Haythornthwaite, 2015). I believe this is a necessary way forward. But, this is a wicked problem, with each change in technology, each advance in teaching practice, and each maturation of networked practice, changing the conditions of inquiry. To maintain our way forward requires keeping an eye on the horizon, and several recent papers make this point with calls for theory driven research on learning in the face of such new conditions (e.g., Rogers, Dawson & Gasevic, 2016; Eynon, Schroeder & Fry, 2016; Wise & Shaffer, 2015). Moving forward requires grappling with perpetual beta, chaordic (chaos+order) processes, emergence and social construction; assemblages, hybrids, cyborgs, post- and transhumanism; the role of the material, geographical, regional; and more. As researchers, teachers and learners, we are learning not just how to learn or effect learning in this fluid space, but rather how to navigate, to sail on the seas of information and knowledge that are beyond our control. We have indeed left the classroom, leaving the safe spaces of ‘specify, build, and use’, and the space of pre-determined questions, into the open, recursive conditions of rapidly accumulating resources, distributed and mobile knowledge, and emergent dynamics. We are leaving the world of uncertainty (in Perrow’s sense of a lack of information) to one of equivocality, where even the questions to be asked must be negotiated. In this talk I aim to stimulate the conversation I know is already ongoing about where networked learning research and practice is going next, and to introduce some play and experimentation with possible metaphors to guide us on the way forward. References •Rogers, T., Dawson, S. & Gašević, D. (2016). Learning analytics and the imperative for theory driven research. In C. Haythornthwaite, R. Andrews, J. Fransman & E. Meyers (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research (pp. 232-250). London: SAGE. •Eynon, R., Schroeder, R. & Fry, J. (2016). The ethics of learning and technology research. In C. Haythornthwaite, R. Andrews, J. Fransman & E. Meyers (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research (pp. 211-231). London: SAGE. •Haythornthwaite, C. (2015). Rethinking learning spaces: Networks, structures and possibilities for learning in the 21st century. Communication, Research and Practice, 1(4), 292-306. DOI: 10.1080/22041451.2015.1105773 •Haythornthwaite, C. & Andrews, R. (2011). E-learning Theory and Practice. London: Sage. •Wise, A.F. & Shaffer, D.W. (2015). Why theory matters more than ever in the age of big data. Journal of Learning Analytics, 2(2), 5-13.

Additional Information

Author affiliation at the time of presentation: University of British Columbia

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License