Lifelong learning ecologies in online higher education. Students' engagement in the continuum between formal and informal learning.

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Autor*in(nen): Peters, Mitchell & Romero, Marc
Jahr: 2019
Dokumenttyp: Zeitschriftenartikel
Publikationstyp(en): Empirisches Dokument
Themen: Digitalisierung, Hochschuldidaktik/Lehr-Lern-Formate, Zielgruppen
DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12803


Lifelong learning opportunities are readily accessible through the hybridization of digital learning contexts—from formal to informal—in today's globally networked knowledge society. As such, expanded learning opportunities generate a continuum of learning contexts and experiences mediated through digital technology. Consequently, there is an urgent need to actively examine the interconnections and complex relations between what is learned in formal university scenarios and the everyday learning that happens outside of the classroom, particularly the informal learning that is afforded through expanded and emerging digital contexts. The current research problem illustrates that expanded and emerging professional development scenarios require new pedagogical designs for empowering lifelong learners to harness the affordances of the web across both formal and informal contexts and practices. This study outlines ways in which students shape their learning ecologies in virtual contexts to support formal academic learning in online higher education. The paper presents qualitative results from a larger mixed methods interpretive case study. The multicase and multisite study examines three fully online graduate programmes in Education and Digital Technology during the 2017–18 academic year, collecting data in the form of online programme documentation, student interviews and online participant observation. Purposeful and criterion sampling were used to select 13 participants across three sites in Spain, the UK and the USA. The study was underpinned by a lifelong learning ecologies theoretical perspective to analyse learning processes across a continuum of practices and contexts. Findings illustrate how students conceive of, as well as how they organize their learning ecologies through a unique configuration of activities, digital resources and networked social support, indicating that academic programmes and teachers have an essential role in empowering student learning ecologies across contexts, recognizing past trajectories and supporting the development of valued disciplinary practices and perspectives across a continuum of learning.


Peters, Mitchell & Romero, Marc (2019). Lifelong learning ecologies in online higher education. Students' engagement in the continuum between formal and informal learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50 (4), 1729-1743. DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12803.

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