TEL Communities

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TEL Communities
Definitions: Theoretical background relevant to technology facilitated social learning
Research evidence: Systematic literature reviews on the theme of technology facilitated social learning

New model of teacher learning in an online network trust

New Model of Teacher Learning in an Online Network Trust, T.  (2016) Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 48, Issue 4, pp 290-305.

This paper has a focus on investigating what factors influence how teachers learn in online contexts by looking at their learning processes.  The writers state that a new model of teacher learning is developed to display teacher learning as an iterative, multistep process that is socially constructed, distributed, and situated in the contexts in which teachers work.  This aligns closely with this MESH guide, and informs the thinking which shaped it. However it is useful to challenge the newness of Trust’s model, which has similar elements to those in other studies. More interesting is Trust’s view that online communities and networks provide ongoing, self-directed, bottom-up learning experiences for teachers.  

Similar claims can well be made for teacher educators and trainee teachers in similar contexts.  Trust takes Putnam and Borko’s (2000) social learning theory as the structural context for her study, this theory states that learning is situated, social and distributed in nature - none of which will surprise the reader of this MESH Guide.  Trust goes on to use the definition of situated cognition of Brown et al (1989) which refers to learning that takes place within the context where the knowledge will be applied. In working among teacher communities or among teacher and trainee teacher communities of practice this is a useful  notion. Trust goes on to consider the range of factors which can shape online learning as it might any other kind of learning. In teacher education the application of the knowledge we generate can be in the classroom but might equally be in a professional network or team. This is less explored in the Trust article.


Trust, T., 2016. New Model of Teacher Learning in an Online Network. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(4), pp.290-305.