Situated Learning and Social Media

“The act of writing in a Weblog, or “blogging” can go a long way toward teaching skills such as research, organizations and the synthesis of ideas.” Teachers/Instructors have come to realize just how important it is to utilize the web as a teaching tool for the new generation of students (Digital Natives). One of the best tools is Weblog. It gives the students an opportunity to think, research, and realize that they can write and have a voice that can be viewed and read by many who may or my not share the same idea. When student’s blog they are creating journals/text entries which is considered to be English (writing) and Reading; they also have the opportunity to utilize other learning tools such as videos, photos and other digital media. "Networked learning, in contrast, is committed to a vision of the social that stresses cooperation, interactivity, mutual benefit, and social engagement. The power of ten working interactively will invariably outstrip the power of one looking to beat out the other nine."

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Ning allow learners, once they move beyond the personal connections, to embrace a community where they can learn from each other. Social interaction is an important part of the learning process. As technology has grown and become an integral part of the lives of children, teens and young adults, older adults have been forced to adapt. For example, as more adults have been forced to move through the job market recently, they've turned to technology to develop new skills and to find work. Even fast-food restaurants require job seekers to complete employment applications online. “By the creation of visualizations, students learn to use different types of computer applications that will be useful as they select a direction for their future study.” Students learn in different manners and visualization or situated learning seems to be the most used of all learning styles. Students are able to mimic what they see and hear which enables them to retain information for the long term. Through visualizations of different types of computer applications; the student’s knowledge is defined by the social process of interacting and doing. It allows the students to learn naturally as a result of social behavior. The computer application acts as a guide while the students learn naturally from their own experience. As always, situated learning accelerates a student learning process and ability.

Simulating the experiences that learners would have while performing the functions required in a job allows the opportunity to immediately apply what they've learned and benefit from an organization's existing knowledgebase. With recent advances in technology, it is possible to facilitate the social aspects of learning by virtually connecting individuals within a distributed community of practice in the online environment. “Research shows that learners not only respond by feeding back information, but they also actively use what they know to explore, negotiate, interpret, and create. They construct solutions, thus shifting the emphasis toward the process of learning." While these are skills that teachers are trying to develop in young learners, adults have already developed and used these skills. They have sharpened these skills through work, higher education, raising children or through marriage. As lifelong learners dealing with real-life problems, a project based approach is what develops when they come together with other adults at brick and mortar learning centers or in social networking communities on the web.