My doctoral research is about networking for learning. For me, networking for learning is a individual act in which a person engages in subsequent conversations with known and unknown people to (i) share and receive information, to (ii) potentially learn and to (iii) make long-term and short-term connections with them. I focus on designed social networks, i.e. social networks that have bee especially created to facilitate conversations between stakeholders about a complex, ill-structured problem.
In my research, I try to understand how participating in social networks through networking helps people support their professional development. Through a number of observational and model-building studies, I developed a model of networking for learning. (Coming soon!)
I believe an increased understanding of networking will allow us to create more appropriate technological support for online networkers. At the moment, many purpose-built online social networks do not successfully support deep interactions between network members. Technology that entices network members to really network online might increase value-creation from the individual’s point-of-view. This in turn might prevent network members from turning their backs on these designed online social networks.