How and What Do Academics Learn through Their Personal Networks

Nino Pataraia, Anoush Margaryan, Isobel Falcone, Allison Littlejohn

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper investigates the role of personal networks in academics’ learning in relation to teaching. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 11 academics, this study examines, first, how and what academics learn through their personal networks; second, the perceived value of networks in relation to academics’ professional development; and, third, whether and how network participation affects professional learning and extant teaching practice. Findings suggest that personal networks equip academics with a diverse pool of knowledge and skills about teaching, offering both professional and emotional support. What academics learn through personal networks subsequently becomes embedded in their teaching practice. In this sample, change in teaching practice is focused on application of new learning technologies and new teaching and assessment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)336-357
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Personal learning networks
  • Learning process
  • Teaching in higher education
  • Egocentric network analysis
  • Mixed-method study
  • Professional learning
  • Workplace learning

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