Stroking the Net Whale: a Constructivist Grounded Theory of Self-Regulated Learning in Virtual Social Spaces

Judita Kasperiuniene, Vilma Zydziunaite, Malin Eriksson


This qualitative study explored the self-regulated learning (SRL) of teachers and their students in virtual social spaces. The processes of SRL were analyzed from 24 semi-structured individual interviews with professors, instructors and their students from five Lithuanian universities. A core category stroking the net whale showed the process of SRL skills development of university teachers and their students. This core category was constructed from three categories: building boats, angling in the multifaceted ocean, nurturing the big fish. Building boats showed social networking and identity marketing processes which are the same for both research participant groups. Angling in the multifaceted ocean implied personal capabilities and mutual trust dimensions, applicable to both teachers and students. Other dimensions of Angling in the multifaceted ocean differ: maintenance of liquid identities was observed for teachers; students stressed reinforcement of formal studies in virtual social spaces. Nurturing the big fish for both participant groups means academic communication; for university teachers, it also means professional knowledge development, and for students, virtual learning skills development. These findings contribute to understanding how the SRL of university teachers and their students progresses in virtual social spaces.


constructivist grounded theory, self-regulated learning, university teachers, university students, virtual social spaces

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Qualitative Research in Education | ISSN: 2014-6418

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