MAP Education and Humanities (MAPEH) / Volume 4

ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER

Virtual Communities of Practice on Linkedin: A Study on Self-Directed, Work-Related Learning

by Elisabeth Franc 1 ORCID ID for Elisabeth Franc , Rita Stampfl 2 ORCID ID for Rita Stampfl , Barbara Geyer 3 ORCID ID for Barbara Geyer

1 University of Applied Sciences Burgenland, Eisenstadt, Austria
2 University of Applied Sciences Burgenland, Eisenstadt, Austria
3 University of Applied Sciences Burgenland, Eisenstadt, Austria

ABSTRACT

As a career network, LinkedIn offers access to a wide range of job-related information and a low-threshold opportunity for exchange among experts in various fields. The purpose of this study was to find out which LinkedIn functions are particularly useful for self-directed professional development and to what extent users’ motivation to learn is influenced by their virtual community of practice (VCoP) on LinkedIn. Two approaches were taken to answer this question. First, a literature review on four different learning theories was conducted: self-directed learning, situated learning, social learning and connectivism. The learning mechanisms on social media were then put into the context of those four learning theories. Additionally, the specific potential of learning via social media and especially via LinkedIn was considered. Second, a qualitative interview study with LinkedIn users who were categorised as digital learning experts based on their education and/or profession was conducted. According to the results of the study, LinkedIn offers excellent conditions for professional development. Various functions such as consuming others’ posts, writing own posts, comments or private messages and subscribing to hashtags or newsletters support work-related learning processes. The value of the LinkedIn Learning course platform is controversial. The results also show that VCoP activities can influence users’ motivation to learn both positively and negatively. The LinkedIn activities of others can inspire users, but they can also cause social pressure. The results of the interview study represent an addition to the research field of “learning with social media” and can be used as recommendations for dealing with LinkedIn in order to broaden or deepen one’s professional knowledge. This study especially highlights the use of LinkedIn for lifelong learning with the goal of professional development.

Keywords: learning with social media, LinkedIn, connectivism, self-directed learning, professional development, virtual community of practice

HOW TO CITE THIS ARTICLE
Franc E., Stampfl R., Geyer B. (2024). Virtual Communities of Practice on Linkedin: A Study on Self-Directed, Work-Related Learning, MAP Education and Humanities, 4, 100-114. doi: https://doi.org/10.53880/2744-2373.2024.4.100

MAP Education and Humanities

Volume 4

ISSN: 2744-2373/ © The Authors.
Published by MAP - Multidisciplinary Academic Publishing.

Article Submitted: 06 February 2024
Article Accepted: 26 February 2024
Article Published: 28 February 2024


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to the author(s).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.53880/2744-2373.2024.4.100

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