EXAMINING NETWORKED LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN SAUDI ARABIAN HIGHER EDUCATION

H. Nasseif

Lancaster University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Networked Learning (NL) is an innovative pedagogical field that highlights opportunities of sharing knowledge and collaboration in this digital age. Many Networked Learning research studies have explored NL pedagogies, practices, types as e-learning, online learning, computer support, and more. For studies researching Saudi Arabian higher education, most networked learning studies covered mainly e-learning, online and computer support learning. Thus, there is little research done exploring Saudi universities’ NL practice through applying a NL pedagogical framework. Most Saudi classrooms are conducted face-to-face, with use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) that allow students to interact with learning resources and to collaborate with their peers. So, this may imply that Saudi courses follow a NL platform. For this, a qualitative study is conducted to employ theoretical principles of NL practice to examine the current state of courses and activities in a local Saudi University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Around 50 course documents are collected and analysed and semi-structured interviews with 7 faculty and 21 students are conducted to examine the use of NL principles. The study’s findings indicate some strong evidences of NL principles concerning group work and support, but minimal evidences on collaboration, assessments and peer and self-evaluations. To make use of the promising benefits of NL, the university can work on investing time to ensure course design to contain proper group evaluation and assessments. Technology support is needed to provide and facilitate effective collaboration. Furthermore, employing a NL practice gives a chance to promote innovation in learning in the Saudi classroom.