What Online Networks Offer: Online Network Compositions and Online Learning Experiences of Three Ethnic Groups

Suzanne Elisabeth Lecluijze, Mariëtte de Haan, Asli Ünlüsoy


This exploratory study examines ethno-cultural diversity in youth´s narratives regarding their online learning experiences while also investigating how these narratives can be understood from the analysis of their online network structure and composition. Based on ego-network data of 79 respondents this study compared the characteristics of the online social networks of native Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch, and Turkish-Dutch youth. Subsequently, thirty interviews were analyzed to compare youth’s narratives regarding two aspects typically associated with 21th century online learning: ‘individual online exploration’, and ‘participation, collaboration and exchange of information in online communities’. The results show that the three ethnic groups significantly differ regarding their online network composition. Youth’s narratives also reveal that their online learning experiences are ethno-specific. Youth differ regarding the nature of online communities in which they search for information, make new contacts and distribute their own media creations. For example, Turkish-Dutch youth primarily engage in their own ethnic transnational networks to find information and to share media content, whereas Moroccan-Dutch youth seem more open to develop new contacts and to search for information outside of their familiar network. It is suggested that these ethno-specific narratives can be understood as resonating specific network configurations.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v4n3p68


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