Networked communities

Back to the what added value does digitalization give? -page

Networked world we live in affect our approach to the teaching of languages and communication


NETWORKED COMMUNITIES: How does the networked world we live in affect our approach to the teaching of languages and communication?

Added value:

  • Digitalization provides many opportunities for students to take charge of their own language learning and to continue to develop their skills even after graduation (life-long learning) [1], [2].
  • The use of digital tools provides new forms of community, makes building global learning communities easier and brings the outside world into the learning situation [1], [3], [4].
  • In digital learning environments, students learn by interacting in different forms [1], [4]
  • Using digital tools can increase student motivation and lead to deeper learning by strengthening peer review, peer learning and peer feedback processes [2], [3], [4], [5]
  • For many students, it may be great fun to use many digital technologies and communicate with people in far away places.  For example, incorporating the use of social media in a course can foster a community of learning practice, provide more opportunities for communication and bring fun and enjoyment to learning [4], [6]. Enjoyment is associated with deeper learning [7].
  • Digitalization can provide more opportunities for collaborative learning, which may lead to production of new knowledge [8]. Student involvement in collaborative learning is often more equally distributed in online environments [9].
  • Networked communities provide opportunities to interact in real-world situations in different environments. Engaging learning environments boost student motivation [2], [4].
  • Collaboration and communication through digital means corresponds to 21st century working life skills [10]
  • Interacting in global networks fosters intercultural communication skills


  • Assessment needs to focus on the quality of interaction, not simply on action (i.e. completing tasks)
  • Digitalizing teaching requires investment in time and planning to be pedagogically relevant and functional
  • Collaboration needs time and teamwork skills, as well as project management and conflict resolution skills.


[1] D. Grabbe, I. Elgort  & P. Gu “Autonomy in Networked World,”  Innovations in Language Learning and Teaching 7(3), 193-197, 2013.

[2] T. Vander Ark and Getting Smart (2015, Nov 6). The Shift to Digital Learning: 10 Benefits [online]. Available:

[3] MIT Open Learning (2018). Value of Digital Learning [online]. Available:

[4] A. Nike & P. Trena ”Using as social networking site for experiential learning: appropriating, lurking, modeling and community building,” Internet and Higher Education 13(2010) 188-196.

[5] M. Kuuskorpi, T. Kuuskorpi, K. Sipilä, J. Heikkinen, and R. Tamminen, ”Oppimismotivaation muutokset opetustila- ja oppimateriaaliuudistusten yhteydessä,” in Digitaalinen oppiminen ja oppimisympäristöt, M. Kuuskorpi, Ed. Opetushallituksen tuella Kaarinan kaupunki ja kirjoittajat. Tampere: Juvenes Print – Suomen Yliopistopaino Oy, 2015, pp. 107-108.

[6] S. Warren and J. Wakefiled (2013) “Learning and teaching as communicative actions: Social media as Education Tool”, pp. 98-113 in Kyeung-Je Seo (ed.) Using Social Media Effectively in the Classroom: Blogs, Wikis, Twitter and More. Routledge.

[7] A.R. Artino & K.D. Jones II “Exploring the complex relations between achievement emotions and self-regulated learning behaviors in online learning,“ Internet and Higher Education 15: 170-175, 2012

[8] C. Zhu, “Student satisfaction, Performance, and knowledge construction in online collaborative learning,” Educational Technology & Society, 15(1), 127-136, 2013.

[9] A. Young, “Structuring asynchronous discussions to incorporate learning principles in an online class: One professor’s course analysis,” MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4(2), 218–224, 2008.

[10] J. Voogt, O. Erstrad, C. Dede, P. Mishra, “Challenges to learning and schooling in the digital networked world of the 21st century,” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (2013), 29, 403-413.