California-based Dr Etienne Wenger is an internationally recognised thought leader on social learning and ‘communities of practice’; the theory that learning is most beneficial when it is done socially, in groups.
Human beings are naturally social animals, and learn best when working and interacting with others. Dr Wenger’s theories on social learning are seen as increasingly relevant in today’s society with the growth in opportunities for communicating with others through social media, phones and computers. He believes that harnessing these tools and the power of communities of practice on an international scale can transform learning.
Dr Wenger will present his theories and discuss how they can be used to engage online learners at UDOL’s annual academic conference on Thursday 4th September.
More than 80 lecturers from UDOL’s 300-strong academic workforce, from both the UK and overseas, will attend the conference at the University’s main Kedleston Road site in Derby.
The University’s online service delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses to more than 2,700 online distance learners around the world.
Julie Stone, Director of UDOL, said its academic framework had embraced Dr Wenger’s theories on social learning, which she believed to be a key factor in the growth in the number of students choosing Derby courses to learn online.
She added: “At UDOL we put students at the heart of every decision we make. Early on in our development we recognised the benefit of students being able to work together and learn from each other. Through online learning our students, from over 100 countries, can come together in their own ‘communities of practice’ and engage in truly social learning.
“We’re delighted that Etienne will be attending our conference and can continue inspiring our academic team to provide the first class online learning experience, which is so important to our students.”