Santos-Rego, M. A., Lorenzo-Moledo, M., & García-Álvarez, J. (Eds.) (2023). La educación en red. Una perspectiva multidimensional [Networked learning. A multidimensional perspective]. (Marisol Galdames-Calderón)



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Santos-Rego, M. A., Lorenzo-Moledo, M., & García-Álvarez, J. (Eds.) (2023).
La educación en red. Una perspectiva multidimensional [Networked learning. A multidimensional perspective].
Ediciones Octaedro. 308 pp.


In seeking to understand the role of education in modern society, it is necessary to consider the present and past times in which it has evolved. These days, education is affected by the dramatic changes wrought by globalisation, understood as a process of interconnection and interdependence between countries and regions around the world. This has led to the significant transformation of the educational scene, by expanding boundaries beyond the known borders, where information is plentiful both within and outside schools, and creating different ways of learning and redesigning a new cognitive map. ,

Globalisation has produced unprecedented opportunities for access to education, as it is now possible to learn from anywhere in the world and at any time as a result of connectivity, creating a different relationship with knowledge, given that learning is no longer limited to the classroom, but has spread into everyday life, work, sociocultural contexts, into all aspects of life. The educational process is, therefore, continuous and permanent, and enables the acquisition of new abilities and skills for the adaptation to a constantly changing world using the numerous and varied possibilities that different sources of information can provide. ,

In this sense, the use of technologies and internet has become extremely common and is increasingly affordable for a growing number of students. It has led to greater accessibility, flexibility and personalisation in learning, and has made remote learning possible all over the world. For this reason, the concept of ‘network’ is now a frequently-used term relating to the rapid changes produced by economic globalisation and technology (Santos-Rego et al., 2023), causing people to confuse the terms networked learning and online or digital learning, or use them indistinctly, and this should not be the case. ,

Defining networked learning requires a multidimensional perspective in order to understand it. For this reason, the work edited by Miguel Ángel Santos-Rego, Mar Lorenzo-Moledo and Jesús García-Álvarez comes at the right time. In fact, the book reveals that networked learning represents connection and that it is based on the principle of cooperation, meaning that it can encourage participation and interaction with other stakeholders, by promoting the development of knowledge and skills in a collaborative learning environment, in both its formal and informal dimensions, at the social and community level. ,

In order to provide continuity, from the challenges and approaches involved through to the development of different contexts related to networked learning, the work is in two sections. The first is entitled “El desafío de la educación en red: algunos posicionamientos” (The challenge facing networked learning: some approaches) and over the course of six chapters it addresses different perspectives on the subject. The second section is called ‘Universidad, desarrollo profesional y acción educativa en red’ (The university, professional development and actions for networked learning) and the five chapters describe how networked learning functions and what to expect from it in the context of higher education. ,

The first chapter of the first section addresses the importance of overcoming the individualistic view of education and coming to appreciate a more integrative perspective of entrepreneurship education. For this reason, the book invites us to discover the characteristics of entrepreneurs and connections with the context by means of systemic entrepreneurship education focusing on the individual, taking into account the notion of the ‘entrepreneurship education ecosystem (EEE)’. ,

In the second chapter, the authors begin by describing trends in the training of education professionals and the importance of considering a paradigmatic change in higher education, which mainly features the abandonment of the traditional model of university education and the emergence of an interest in quality, from the perspective of sustainability and the in-depth approach to educating networked professionals that specifically uses networked learning. ,

However, when speaking of networked learning it is impossible to avoid mentioning the relationship with technology. For this reason, in the third chapter, the authors explain that the fact of technologies having grown exponentially has enabled significant generation of knowledge. Thus, there has been an increase in the challenges involved in education, as the relevant teaching processes require, among other elements, the acquisition of new skills, both for those who teach and those who learn. ,

In the fourth chapter, the author states that in order to improve education, specific actions are required of the communities of practice, using what they know and what is known, through knowledge management and collaborative work between professional and institutional networks in order to address the complexity and dynamism of current reality. ,

In the fifth chapter of this book, the authors concentrate, from a perspective of education for life, on providing some key points regarding the origin and evolution of non-formal education and the underlying relationship with work networks, through the use of social capital, taking into account the possibilities that this offers in terms of transformation and social equity to improve collaboration in social and community contexts. ,

In the last chapter of the first part, the authors claim that networks are not a new thing and have existed throughout history. For this reason, they approach the concept of relationship networks in the pre-electronic era offered by pedagogues Rafael Ramírez, Rabindranath Tagore and Jiddu Krishnamurti through the different methods of publicising or disseminating their speeches, which they used to impart their knowledge before the existence of electronic media, thus ending the first section of the book. ,

The second section of the work by Santos-Rego et al. (2023) begins with the seventh chapter and the author talks about the change and transformation that universities have undergone, revealing significant pointers on how to foresee the future, major university policy, the guiding principles that would help to explain what university is for, and how these elements are connected to lifelong networked learning. ,

In the eighth chapter, the author refers to the role that the university plays in building a better world, by reimagining the functions of research and teaching and how they are extended through the creation of networks with different institutions in the communities of which the contemporary university is a part, in order to meet the challenges of our times. ,

The authors of the ninth chapter present a case study, analysing the professional development of university teaching staff from the perspective of learning ecologies (LE), as this provides relevant information on how learning occurs in the current digital reality, leading to an understanding of how teachers acquire their skills and build their identity. ,

The tenth chapter establishes the connections between entrepreneurship, vocational training for employment and European cooperation networks and the specific actions they implement through development programmes. This study issues an invitation to learn about the Europe of cooperation, synergies, transnationality, mobility and convergence. ,

Finally, the eleventh chapter presents the main findings of a case study on the importance of creating links between the university and the community for work networks to succeed and on how service-learning (SL) could be a vital methodology to establish collaborative relationships between the different stakeholders and educational centres. ,

In short, education has become an essential part of people, as they are constantly learning and developing new skills to stay up to date in a constantly changing world. With the arrival of internet, there is greater access to information than ever before. For this reason, this work extends an invitation to explore the exciting possibilities that networked learning can offer. It provides information about the latest tendencies related to the capacity for promoting interaction and collaboration between stakeholders in social and community areas. It also highlights experiences of the use of networked learning in systemic entrepreneurship education or professional development. With detailed case studies and real-life examples, this book depicts a multidimensional vision of networked learning and it is recommended reading for anybody interested in taking education to the next level. ,,

Marisol Galdames-Calderón ■

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