A. Lewandowska, E. Inglot-Brzęk, M. Stopa

University of Information Technology and Management (POLAND)
The results presented in the article come from the research conducted due to the innovative project “WeLearning – Social Learning Platform” that is financed by European Social Fund and realized by Tischner European University in Cracow (Poland). The project concentrates on decentralized life-long learning within social nets basing on academic and non-academic resources with the use of dedicated open-source web platform.

The research itself was based on qualitative methodology and included both in-depth interviews with academic lecturers and IT experts and employers (28 IDIs), and on the other hand – focus group interviews with students, graduates and postgraduate students (18 FGIs). It is important that IT experts and employers had practical experience in social media area, either owning companies, being involved in start-ups of such kind or actively consulting such projects. Also lecturers had wide experience with e-learning techniques and tools. Finally, all students and graduates in FGIs represented universities that have and use e-learning systems.

All of these interviews were realized in three locations: Cracow, Rzeszow, and Zamosc (South-East Poland) between November and December 2012. This data was additionally supplemented by secondary analysis of best e-learning practices in the best universities in the world.
The IT experts verbalized positive opinions on every possible form of distance learning, stressing that this was the trend in “education of future.” What is even more, the experts and employers stated that formal diploma had less matter to them than qualifications and practical skills.
The lecturers had less liberal views, and were more sceptic about social e-learning platform. From their point of view e-learning was complementary to more traditional forms of teaching, and should be supported by authority of estate institution.

However, most traditional and conservative were the students and graduates who had a lot of concerns that diplomas of e-learning courses had no value to future or possible employers. Of course, e-learning was to them a normal way of learning of some parts of the course or foreign languages but social e-learning and virtual diplomas were simply just too much.

Therefore, basing on the results of qualitative analysis, it is possible to point out stereotypes on both traditional and distance learning among students and graduates, teachers and lecturers, and IT experts and employers. They present the scale of different attitudes – from open and liberal perception of social e-learning as modern and effective way of learning, towards more traditional and full of concerns views presented by the youngest parties.