Networked learning is a process of developing and maintaining connections with people and information, and communicating in such a way to support one another. The central term in this definition is connections. It takes a relational stance in which learning takes place both in relation to others and in relation to learning resources.
It has been suggested that networked learning offers educational institutions more functional efficiency, in that the curriculum can be more tightly managed centrally, or in the case of vocational learning, it can reduce costs to employers and taxpayers. However, it is also argued that networked learning is too often considered within the presumption of institutionalised or educationalised learning, thereby omitting awareness of the benefits that networked learning has to informal or situated learning.
In the late 1980s, Dr. Charles A. Findley headed the Collaborative Networked Learning project at Digital Equipment Corporation on the East Coast of the United States. Findley’s project conducted trend analysis and developed prototypes of collaborative learning environments, which became the basis for their further research and development of what they called Collaborative Networked Learning (CNL) and Collaborative Learning-Work (CLW).
In (1995) there is terms of Network Learning and suggested that: Network learners of the future will have access to formal and informal education of their choice, wherever they are located, whenever they are able to participate The network learner will be an active participant learning with and from experts and peers wherever they are located.
In (1990s) since the development of the Internet as a significant medium for access to information and communication, the practice of networked learning has tended to focus on its use. In the first phase of the Internet its use for networked learning was restricted by low bandwidth, the emphasis was largely on written and text based interactions between people, and the text based resources they referred to. This textual form of interaction was a familiar academic medium, even though there was recognition of the unique qualities hypertext emerging in the online form.
CSALT, a research group at Lancaster University, UK, associated with the Networked Learning Conference series and several edited collections, defined networked learning as “learning in which information and communication technology is used to promote connections: between one learner and other learners, between learners and tutors; between a learning community and its learning resources.”. This definition seems to ignore historical use of the term however, where computing was not of central importance.
In (2001) lmon wrote “learning is built around learning communities & interaction, extending access beyond the bounds of time and space, but offering the promise of efficiency and widening access. Think of individuals as nodes on a network!“
Later, E-Learning and Digital Media published a special issue on globally networked learning titled Globally networked learning environments: Re-shaping the intersections of globalization and e-learning in higher education,
Open and Networked Research
Some researchers have used networked learning methods to collaborate and support each other’s research.
The architecture of productive learning networks
In collaboration with the developers and organizers of learning networks in various parts of the world. Their work has focused on the architecture of learning networks – aiming to identify arrangements of tasks, tools and people that contribute to successful learning networks. Some conclusions from this work have been published in The architecture of productive learning networks, which also includes a chapter on the history of networked learning.
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