How and what do academics learn through their personal networks

Nino Pataraia*, Anoush Margaryan, Isobel Falconer, Allison Littlejohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)336-357
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • egocentric network analysis
  • learning process
  • mixed-method study
  • personal learning networks
  • professional learning
  • teaching in higher education
  • workplace learning


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