NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Abercynon, Wales, United Kingdom, 2007/01/27 - Social networking is fast becoming a mainstream technology for connecting people and now the person known for inventing one of the most popular methods is calling on the e-learning industry to embrace the technology.
Jonathan Bishop, a director of e-learning firm Glamorgan Blended Learning believes his technology, the Circle of Friends, can break through many of the barriers to learning faced by learners engaged in distance and blended learning.
“There is a difference between what a learner can achieve by themselves and what they can achieve with the support of their peers”, he said, “the Circle of Friends allows learners to build networks of people who can support them in their learning.”
Mr Bishop, who has been developing and researching e-learning communities since the 1990s, will be presenting research on what the e-learning industry can learn from traditional approaches to teaching at a conference in April.
The Faith, Spirituality and Social Change Conference (fsscconference.org.uk), held on 14-15 April 2007 at the University of Winchester will be receiving Mr Bishop for the second time and hear him give a speech on how e-learning systems like online communities can bring about social change, through contributing to the economic, social and cultural development of those that use them.
Mr Bishop’s Circle of Friends technology became popular with the launch of Friendster, a website backed by venture capital investors Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Benchmark Capital. Since the Circle of Friends was first implemented in 1999 to when it was popularised by Friendster, the number of social networking websites using it has grown significantly. According to the conservative estimates of Philip Kim, author of Social Capital and Entrepreneurship, as of early 2005 there were at least 30 online networking sites, and according to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia there are now over 200 sites dedicated to social networking.
Mr Bishop argues that as the demand for effective e-learning solutions increases, so will it become important to use social networking solutions in the learning process, “While I don’t like to use neologisms like Web 2.0 and E-Learning 2.0, as learning is a social process it seems natural to use social technologies to enhance learning, and creating e-learning systems that are persuasive, adaptable, sociable and sustainable seems to be in the interests of both learners and teachers.”