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ERIC Number: EJ1228870
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Sep
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2472-5749
Using Social Media as a Platform for a Virtual Professional Learning Community
Bedford, Laurie
Online Learning, v23 n3 p120-136 Sep 2019
The Professional Learning Community (PLC) has been used in higher education to provide a platform for faculty members to discuss challenges and build professional skills. While the virtual PLC (VPLC) is becoming a more acceptable delivery mechanism for faculty professional development, successful practices for designing these learning environments have received little attention in the research literature. Social media has been found to provide an environment in which professional learning can occur. It can be a platform which transcends the perceptions and structure of traditional online faculty development courses. However, social media use for professional development has primarily focused on informal learning in unstructured formats. The purpose of this interpretive qualitative study was to provide insight into online faculty members' perceptions and experiences interacting in a VPLC, within a social media environment purposefully designed for networking and learning. Twenty-two doctoral-mentoring faculty members from an online university agreed to participate in a VPLC using a social media platform, facilitated by expert colleagues. Upon completion of the 10-week experience, data was collected using a self-reflective interview strategy. This study confirmed previous research into the benefits of the PLC for professional development in academia and of using social media for professional learning. It extended the research to describe the structured VPLC using a social media platform to engage faculty, build relationships, and foster shared learning.
Online Learning Consortium, Inc. P.O. Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950. Tel: 888-898-6209; Fax: 888-898-6209; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A