Social Networks, Virtual Communities and Learning Management Systems: Towards an Integrated Environment

L. Colazzo, A. Molinari, and N. Villa (Italy)

Keywords

Learning Virtual Communities, eLearning, LifeLongLearning, Social Networks, Web 2.0

Abstract

The paper discusses the transformation that social networks and web 2.0 paradigms have introduced into a consolidated virtual community system used in educational settings. Typical “web 2.0” tools, such as wikis, blogs, etc., have been included into our virtual community platform, and thanks to the “community” metaphor, some interesting new services and possibilities are now available to community members. The community as a container of people that share common interests can be used not only for educational purposes, but also for other social and business activities, in general allowing the community members to share services and information made available by the platform. Our system, “On Line Communities”, has become a sort of middle point between traditional LMSs (based on the rigid and limiting “classroom” metaphor) and the wide-and-open social networks (like Facebook™ or Myspace™) where the metaphor of “community” is too open, not efficient and in general not suitable, in our opinion, for business or educational settings

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