Twitter has been celebrated as a tool for professional learning. However many of the assertions about the benefits of Twitter for professional learning have been anecdotal proclamations rather than research-evidenced claims.
This presentation draws on findings from my EdD research, which explored how higher education professionals use Twitter for learning. A case study approach enabled in-depth exploration of how and why Twitter was used by professionals for learning about teaching-related practices. The research found that participants used Twitter in different ways: some peripherally participated on Twitter, while others participated at the centre of online-networked spaces.
These findings contradict commonly held views that open online spaces, such as Twitter, are inherently social. The research established that capacity to participate, feelings of confidence and vulnerability, and finding a sense of belonging online were contributing factors to participation or non-participation in such spaces.
These findings highlight the complexity of participating in online social spaces for learning. Thus, there are implications for those who advocate online social networks for learning. Critical thought and further discussion coupled with suitable supports are required if open online spaces are to be advocated and encouraged for learning in higher education contexts.