Blogging and lifelong learning

The authors conducted a study into how blogging supports non-formal learning, which they define as learning that happens on the learner’s own time, that is self-directed, and that is triggered by learner’s own goals or interests. The study included only 11 Finnish bloggers, all between 26 and 37 years old, almost all female, who seemingly blog about makeup, fashion, and food (among other topics), and none of that sounds very promising for me and my context. However, the article did yield some interesting insights.

Harju, V., Pehkonen, L., and Niemi, H. (2016) ‘Serious but fun, self-directed yet social: blogging as a form of lifelong learning’, International Journal of Lifelong Education, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 2-17 [Online]. DOI: 10.1080/02601370.2015.1124930.

Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Creating, reflecting, and discussing in digital environments
  3. Blogging as self-actualization
  4. Objectives
  5. Methods
  6. Findings
    1. The field of blogging
    2. The functions of blogging and active participation
      1. Learning and studying
      2. Guidance and tutoring
      3. Bringing new perspectives to public discussions
      4. Applying expertise
      5. Creating in one’s own space and at one’s own pace
      6. Being part of a digital media culture
  7. Discussion and conclusion

Notes

Blogs are a form of digital media. Digital media (in general) support active participation and informal mentoring. Blogging (in particular) supports reflective writing. At least one study has found that bloggers think of blogging as a way to pursue their intellectual interests, but not as a community-centered activity. In this study, bloggers indicated that they think of blogging as not work, even though some blogs were related to their field or were in some ways related to their income.

Reasons for blogging

To learn and study:

To give and get guidance:

To influence ideas:

To promote their expertise:

To express themselves in a creative endeavor:

To engage with others:

‘The audience, either actual or imaginary, is the spice of blogging. The sociality of blogs can promote joy and feelings of togetherness, and can motivate bloggers to create new posts and even to excel at it. In addition, other bloggers and discussions in blogs can offer opportunities for learning’ (Harju et al., 2016, p. 13).

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