learning landscapes in southern africa


Social Presence and Context Awareness for KnowledgeTransformation in an m-Learning Environment

Raymond Kekwaletswe, Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town
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Knowledge transfer is a human-to-human process. One of the essential facets of learning is the social interaction in which knowledge is an outcome of individuals sharing experiences. When learners intermingle, there is shift in knowledge due to the social interaction. Consequently, knowledge transformation is a social process which occurs during and when there is an interaction among learners. In a contact university, learners perform tasks in three locations: formal contexts, semi-formal contexts, and informal contexts or non-academic settings. Learning tasks are presumed to be constant but a mobile learner carries the tasks in different environments. As learners move across different contexts, they do not have access to the same social networks for sharing experiences and knowledge transfer. In this paper, we conceptualize a mobile learning environment that provides social presence awareness as a learner traverses different learning contexts. The paper concludes that social presence through the synchronous mobile instant messaging provides learners with continuous awareness of available social support and facilitates on-demand sharing of knowledge.