How do social networks influence learning outcomes? A case study in an industrial setting

Seid Maglajlic (RailNetEurope, Vienna, Austria)
Denis Helic (Institute for Knowledge Management, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 8 June 2012



The purpose of this research is to shed light on the impact of implicit social networks to the learning outcome of e‐learning participants in an industrial setting.


The paper presents a theoretical framework that allows the authors to measure correlation coefficients between the different affiliations that exist in an organization and the final learning outcome. The correlation between learning outcome and the communication intensity in the implicit social network of the e‐learning participants is also observed. For the quantification of the communication intensity and affiliation network position of e‐learning participants, the methods from the graph theory are applied.


The values of the correlation coefficients between communication intensity and learning outcome show the significance which motivates the authors for further research on engineering of the social networks in the e‐learning environment.

Research limitations/implications

This case study is performed in an industrial setting.

Practical implications

The results of this case study influence the further development of the e‐learning system that has been used in the experimental setup in this paper, especially the user management module. The algorithm for matching the trainees with tutors is in development.


The impact analysis of the influence of the social network position of the learner in e‐learning environment by comparing the test results before taking the e‐learning course and after taking the course (learning outcome) is provided by measurements of the correlations between the social network position and communication intensity of the learner with the learning outcome.



Maglajlic, S. and Helic, D. (2012), "How do social networks influence learning outcomes? A case study in an industrial setting", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 74-88.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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