June 16, 2024
Blog / PhD

Networked Learning, Teaching and Assessment

I am just revisiting some of the papers that I did for Part One of my PhD and popping them on blog posts. Here is the first one that I did for the Networked Learning, Teaching and Assessment module.

The collective variation in academic staff experience of using online collaborative technologies and understanding of networked learning practices within a research-led institution in the UK


Understanding teachers perspectives on the use of online collaborative technologies and conceptions of networked learning can provide an insight into professional development to improve digital skills can be supported.. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative phenomenographic study within the context of a single higher education institution within the UK. The institution is launching a new Digital Strategy and seeks to transform the digital environment at the university. This will involve upskilling staff from a digital scholarship perspective. A new suite of collaborative online tools will be introduced for Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) purposes. This paper focuses on the professional development needs of academic staff who will be introduced to the new collaborative tools and explores variations in their conceptions in the use of such online collaborative technologies with a view to exploring how best the institution can foster networked learning practices for continued professional development for its staff. It specifically looks at the qualitatively different ways that staff may perceive and have experience of such collaborative technologies and tools and their underlying approaches to learning.

The data was gathered using an open-ended questionnaire and analysed to draw out conceptual variations. Four qualitatively different ways of experiencing the use of online collaborative tools were revealed as 1) little or no experience of sharing, exchange of ideas or collaboration 2) Experience of using online tools to exchange ideas 3) Experience of using online tools to collaborate and work together 4) Experience of using online tools to create, explore and problem solve. The Conceptual awareness of the use of online collaborative tools was identified in increasing complexity as 1) being used for the exchange of information and ideas2) used for working together and collaborating with others 3) used for developing the self and learning with others 4) used for exploring and solving problems through knowledge creation.

The Conceptual awareness of the term Networked Learning was identified in increasing complexity as 1) connecting with others 2) sharing and supporting others 3) Networked Learning is being part of a community 4) Networked Learning is energising each other and gaining deeper understanding.

Key Words: Networked Learning, Technology Enhanced Learning, Higher Education, Continuing Professional Development, Phenomenography


I really enjoyed this one and focused it around professional development and again used Phenomenography as my methodology. Again I used Gerlese Akerlind’s steps for my analysis and also found Lois Irvin’s advice really helpful. I remember trying to use Nvivo to analyse my data but had a bit of a nightmare with my laptop and ended up abandoning it and going back to an excel spreadsheet and coding it by hand. Nvivo has real potential though and it was more to do with getting the assignment in rather than through not wanting to persevere with it.


Akerlind, G. (2005) ‘Phenomenographic methods: A case illustatration’, in Bowden, J. and Green, P. (eds) Doing Developmental Phenemenography. Doing Deve. Melbourne RMIT University Press.

Åkerlind, G. S. (2005) ‘Variation and commonality in phenomenographic research methods’, Higher Education Research & Development, 24(4), pp. 321–334. doi: 10.1080/07294360500284672.

Irvin, L. (2005) ‘Creative categories of description using phenomenographic data: an example of analytical process’, in Knight, B. A., Walker-Gibbs, B., and Harrison, A. (eds) Researching Educational Capital in a Technological Age. Post Pressed, Teneriffe. Available at: http://hdl.cqu.edu.au/10018/18891.

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