Together with Marc Sarazin and Martin Rehm, I’m co-organizing a session on “Networks for Learning” at the upcoming 3rd European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN).
This session focuses on papers that use social network analysis to understand how individuals involved in activities related to education and learning (pupils, students, teachers, school
management, policy makers etc.) are affected by or use their social networks for educational purposes or in educational settings. The session’s papers will build on the assumption that actors are embedded within social networks which provide opportunities and constraints, in turn affecting individuals’ behaviours and attitudes (Monge & Contractor, 2003, Emirbayer & Goodwin, 1994, Borgatti & Halgin, 2011). Within this framework, the session welcomes papers that seek to make empirical, methodological and/or theoretical contributions to understandings of social networks in learning and education. These could include papers on:
- The importance of social networks for the social and learning environments of students (Heidler et al., 2014) and educational professionals (e.g. teachers) (e.g. Rehm & Notten,
- Theoretical processes underlying social networks, as well as the antecedents and consequences of networks (e.g. Rehm, 2016)
- Discussions of the particularities of educational settings from a social network perspective
- Methodological innovations for studying social networks in learning and education (e.g. algorithms to describe and explain social and learning environments, combinations of
different methodological approaches (e.g. Domínguez & Hollstein, 2014; Froehlich, 2016), etc.)
- Social networks of educational policy-makers (e.g. Ball & Junemann, 2012, Rhodes, 2000)
- Other topics within the above remit
Contributions from all fields (Education, Sociology, Computational Social Science, Psychology, Organisation Science, Anthropology, Statistics, etc.) are welcome, including interdisciplinary
endeavours combining insights from educational or learning sciences with social network perspectives. The session welcomes research using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods.
My paper “Social Approaches to Work-related Informal Learning: Development and Validation of a Scale measuring Feedback-, Help-, and Information-Seeking” has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Training and Development.
Social approaches to work-related informal learning, such as proactive feedback-seeking, help-seeking, and information-seeking, are important determinants of development in the workplace. Unfortunately, previous research has failed to clearly conceptualize these forms of learning and does not provide a validated and generally applicable measurement instrument. We set out to develop and validate such a scale measuring social approaches to work-related informal learning (SWIRL-scale). We collected data in four organizations in Austria and the Netherlands, with a total sample size of 895 employees. These data were used to conduct exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, which showed four distinct factors: feedback-seeking from the supervisor, feedback-seeking from colleagues, help-seeking, and information-seeking. In conclusion, the SWIRL-scale is valid in a range of contexts and thus is an appropriate tool for research as well as human resource development practice.
Keywords: feedback-seeking; help-seeking; information-seeking; informal learning; learning from others