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MirandaNet Fellowship Casestudy
BRAIDED LEARNING: DEVELOPMENTS IN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
Year of posting: 2008
This paper explores Braided Learning, an emergent theory of learning observed in the online communication within a mature professional ‘community of practice’ (CoP) (Wenger 1992, 2002, 2004). The focus of the study is the online practice of the international MirandaNet Fellowship, established in 1992. Evidence of the Wenger approach to learning in the history of MirandaNet is contrasted and compared with the linear 5 step-model that Salmon developed in tutoring online courses at the Open University (2000, 2002). In the paper, an example of a multi-authored text from the Mirandalink, the internal listserv, is investigated to provide evidence of new kinds of collaborative learning. One key skill that is found amongst members is the e-facilitation of collaborative learning. The conclusions indicate that over time online engagement can provide professionals with a thriving community. A sixth step in professional learning is revealed when the CoP members reinterpreted jointly owned online texts for use in influencing local, national and international agendas.
Community of practice, online courses, action research, practice-based research, learning theory, teaching practice.
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