Learning in the Wild: Understanding Networked Ties in Reddit

Part of the Research in Networked Learning book series (RINL)


Social media has emerged as a space in which people engage in both formal and informal learning, often as people interact with one another. Some of these interactions form the basis for learning ties and learning networks. In this chapter, we study how learning ties are formed and sustained among users of Reddit, a popular social media site. By using a social network analysis approach, we hope to understand how networked members on this site contribute to collaborative learning processes in those communities where we know that learning, and particularly informal learning, is likely to happen. Our overarching goal is to apply what we learn about group dynamics from these more successful communities on Reddit to other communities and even other social media platforms. As a case study for this chapter, we examined two online communities on Reddit: AskStatistics and AskSocialScience. Our results show that informal learning processes occurring in these two communities are determined by the reciprocal and transitive nature of communicative ties among their members. We also found that moderators play a key role in fostering interactions in these two communities.


Social network learning analysis Informal learning Reddit Subreddit communities Exponential random graph models 



This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) under Insight Grant Scheme (PI: Gruzd).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media StudiesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Social Media LabRyerson University’s Ted Rogers School of ManagementTorontoCanada
  3. 3.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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