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Social network knowledge construction: emerging virtual world pedagogy

Lisa Dawley (Based at the Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 15 May 2009




The purpose of this paper is to identify and explore the dynamics of an emerging form of teaching and learning – social network knowledge construction – associated with the use of social networks, particularly 3D virtual world environments such as Second Life. As social network technologies not only frame the way individuals interact and learn, but actually impact on a learner's thinking process and development of future consciousness, new pedagogies are needed to effectively integrate these communication mechanisms into the learning environment.


The paper discusses the purpose and potential use of these networks in the teaching and learning process. Distinguishing features of social network knowledge construction as an emerging pedagogy are identified.


Strategies for incorporating a variety of identified social networks, both in and out of virtual worlds, for teaching and learning are noted.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of this emerging pedagogy is framed within the social networks surrounding Second Life, in particular, although the pedagogical framework could be applied across any set of social networking or virtual world applications.

Practical implications

The paper provides critical information currently required by the early to mid‐adopters of social networks and virtual worlds for teaching and learning.


This paper identifies an emerging form of pedagogy that has yet to be fully discussed in the literature, and supports the present issue's emphasis on future‐focused learning.



Dawley, L. (2009), "Social network knowledge construction: emerging virtual world pedagogy", On the Horizon, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 109-121.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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