Professional online communities and networking in the EFL context: What makes them work?


  • TAMAS KISS Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University P .R.China
  • GERGELY HORVATH Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University P .R.China
  • NURFADZILAH NEK KAMAL Taman Rakyat Primary School Malaysia


Community of Practice, network analysis, online learning, teacher development, social networking


This paper aims to explore how a Malaysian English Language (EL) classroom, through the use of a social media platform, Facebook, can have a global impact, reaching more than 26,000 people across more than 40 countries. By conducting an online survey and collecting network data, we investigated whether the page can be considered an online Community of Practice (CoP), what makes people follow it, what content attracts them, and what posts are shared. We also looked at the network structure of the community to discover its internal structure and the connections which exist within. Our findings indicate that the Facebook page cannot be considered a CoP, but a Community of Interest and that personal as well as virtual connections are vital to make information flow through the community. Certain hubs were identified in the network that allow content generated by the page owner reach way beyond the membership and have a global impact. Finally our research found that the most important participants - language teachers - are satisfied to follow the page to learn about new pedagogy, download class materials, without feeling any pressure (or need?) to contribute.