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Research Article

Personalizing Virtual Learning Spaces: A Participatory Approach

1 October 2011

Abstract

As increased personalization afforded by social media changes the way we use technology in our daily lives, so too will Education have to rethink virtual learning space [VLS] design for program delivery. This longitudinal study investigates what happens when stakeholders are enlisted in a participatory design process of developing a social media-based VLS for teaching, learning, communication, and access over an entire academic program. A critical analysis indicates that a flexible personalized virtual learning environment [pVLE] emerged over 2½ iterations. Students accessed content, linked PLEs, engaged in learning activities, and interacted with colleagues. The majority indicated that the environment positively impacted their learning. Successfully engaging stakeholders in a collaborative goal of shaping their program experience requires a conceptual shift towards fluid ownership in what have been traditionally institution-centric environments. This challenge needs to be addressed before VLS design can achieve its full potential and engender change in educational practice.


Action research

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