The applicability of social network analysis to the study of networked learning

Tarmo Toikkanen, Lasse Lipponen
  • Interactive Learning Environments, September 2011, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/10494820903281999

How to study collaborative learning using social network analysis

What is it about?

We look critically at a new method for analyzing collaborative learning scenarios. This method, SNA or Social Network Analysis, is an old method in the field of sociology, but new in psychology. Existing studies use the method naively, and we try to critically see, from a large data set, which metrics actually make sense.

Why is it important?

Some psychological and pedagogical studies on collaborative learning use Social Network Analysis, but often with the simplest metrics, such as density. Here we show that density is not a meaningful metric to use, and propose better alternatives.


Tarmo Toikkanen
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

This study is based on my Master's thesis. I was confused about the non-critical way that psychologists used SNA to analyze collaborative learning scenarios, and wanted to take a closer look, in order to improve future use of the method.

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