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Use of Questions to Facilitate Social Learning in a Web 2.0 Environment

El uso de preguntas para facilitar el aprendizaje social en un entorno de web 2.0


Online social learning involves distributed learners interacting through the use of Web 2.0. In many cases, Web 2.0 interactions are limited to information exchange and do not provoke knowledge construction. Studies of concept mapping suggest that engaging with social learning via a question could encourage meaningful interaction, although this would be likely to depend upon affective conditions and the effort involved in asking and responding to these questions. In order to investigate this, the interactions of 1,229 participants on a social learning site were studied over an 11-week period. Data were also collected from a questionnaire distributed to all participants, and from feedback contributed during the project. These were analysed thematically to investigate the ways in which questions can be used to facilitate learning in a Web 2.0 environment. Analysis showed that participants were interested in broad topic areas, themes and issues rather than specific questions about these areas. They did not treat questions related to learning about the community and the website in the same way as questions related to learning about subject areas and content. The social use of questions online was identified as supporting meaningful learning interaction in nine ways.


En el aprendizaje social en línea participan alumnos distribuidos que interactúan entre sí mediante la web 2.0. En muchos casos, las interacciones en la web 2.0 se limitan al intercambio de información y no promueven el desarrollo de conocimientos. Los estudios sobre mapas conceptuales sugieren que incorporar preguntas en el aprendizaje social podría favorecer una mayor interacción, aunque posiblemente esto dependerá de las condiciones afectivas y del esfuerzo que se invierta al plantear las preguntas y responderlas. Para investigar este supuesto, se han estudiado las interacciones de 1.229 personas inscritas en un sitio web durante un período de 11 semanas. También se han recopilado los datos extraídos de un cuestionario que se pasó a todos los participantes, así como las reacciones obtenidas en el transcurso del proyecto. Estos datos se han analizado temáticamente para investigar cómo pueden usarse las preguntas para facilitar el aprendizaje en un entorno de web 2.0. Los análisis han demostrado que los participantes estaban más interesados en temas, asuntos y cuestiones generales que en las preguntas específicas sobre cada ámbito. Los miembros de la plataforma han planteado de modo distinto las preguntas relacionadas con la comunidad y el uso del sitio web que las preguntas que les permitían conocer más a fondo ciertos contenidos y áreas temáticas. El uso social de preguntas en línea se ha identificado como una interacción de aprendizaje significativa y complementaria en nueve aspectos diferenciados.


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Correspondence to Rebecca Ferguson.

Additional information

The Strategy Unit of The Open University funded this early Beta version of the SocialLearn initiative.

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Ferguson, R. Use of Questions to Facilitate Social Learning in a Web 2.0 Environment. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento 8, 316–327 (2011).

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  • computer-mediated communication
  • pedagogical issues
  • social learning
  • online learning
  • questions

Palabras clave

  • comunicación asistida por ordenador
  • cuestiones pedagógicas
  • aprendizaje social
  • aprendizaje en línea
  • preguntas