The Design of IdeaWorks: Applying Social Learning Networks to Support Tertiary Education

  • Lele Kang
  • Shaokun FanEmail author
  • J. Leon Zhao
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9191)


Online education has progressed from having students passively read and watch materials to having them proactively engage in interactions with other students and teachers. Social network technologies enable students to interact with each other, leading to a new platform for online education. Based on the social learning theory, we design a new social learning network system, named IdeaWorks. Two empirical studies, a usability study and an impact study, were conducted to examine how the social learning network system (i.e., IdeaWorks) has an impact on students’ learning activities. The results of the usability study show that IdeaWorks’ design performs well on user interface, functionality, and process. Generally, users have a high level of usage intention towards IdeaWorks. The results of the impact study show that learning via IdeaWorks, as well as learning in traditional classrooms, enables users to perceive a high level of social presence, cognitive presence, satisfaction with the course, and satisfaction with the group. However, the impact study also showed that we should enhance IdeaWorks to support instructional communication and group communication in the context of online education.


IdeaWorks Social learning networks Online education E-learning 



The work was partially supported by a grant from City University of Hong Kong (Project No. 6980108), and a grant from NSFC (Project No. 71471157).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsCity University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong, China
  2. 2.College of BusinessWest Texas A&M UniversityTexasUSA

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