Perriton L & Reynolds M (2014) 'Here be dragons': Approaching difficult group issues in networked learning. In: Hodgson V, McConnell M, de Laat M & Ryberg T (eds.) The Design, Experience and Practice of Network Learning. Research in Networked Learning. New York: Springer, pp. 109-126. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-01940-6_6
Participative designs for learning are commonly advocated in networked learning whether generally as ‘collaborative’ approaches to learning or more specifically in the form of models such as the ‘learning community’. Such designs are likely to involve students and teachers in any of the complexities associated with collective endeavour: whether interpersonal, social, cultural or political. In non-virtual education, there is a long tradition of theoretical frameworks but there appears to have been less work of this kind specifically in relation to group work within VLEs. It is as if the tradition of participative pedagogy has found a home within the domain of networked learning but ideas that could be necessary in understanding the dynamics generated within such pedagogies have been left behind. In this chapter we move away from an exclusively virtual framework through which to examine social dynamics in order to mine a richer seam of material for making sense of group dynamics. We use a variation on Potter’s (1979) idea of the ‘dilemmas’ likely to be experienced by members of learning groups, to construct a framework through which diverse interpretations can be accommodated in making sense of online dynamics.