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PLEs in Higher Education: Exploring the Transference of Web 2.0 Social Affordances

Oskar Casquero, Javier Portillo, Ramón Ovelar, Jesús Romo and Manuel Benito
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Oskar Casquero: University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain
Javier Portillo: University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain
Ramón Ovelar: University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Spain
Jesús Romo: University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain
Manuel Benito: University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Spain

International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE), 2013, vol. 4, issue 4, 31-43

Abstract: Knowing whether Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) could transfer Web 2.0 affordances, which have been focused on the non-educational or recreational sphere, to the institutional sphere is important to move the research agenda beyond “cool uses†and to understand how the learning process is affected when students use this new type of environment in formal settings. This study analyzes the use of institutionally-powered PLEs (iPLEs) as a means to enable the participatory and community-centered model of Web 2.0 in higher education. Students from two undergraduate, inter-university, online courses were divided into two groups: a control group using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) based on Moodle, and an experimental group using an iPLE based on iGoogle, FriendFeed and Google Groups. The assumption that the iPLE is a suitable tool to create a cohesive and participative learning network that excels that generated by means of the VLE was explored. The results obtained through social network analysis performed to each environment’s forum data confirm this hypothesis.

Date: 2013
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