Virtual Communities, youth and learning. The complexity of a categorization



The current article derives from the first stage of the research project “Virtual communities of youth: making visible their learning and knowledges”, funded by The Reina Sofia Centre on Adolescence and Youth (Second Call for Research Grants-2015), exploratory and with a duration of one year. The main goal of the study is identifying and mapping typologies of youth virtual communities, exploring them as learning and knowledge production spaces, and analyze how and what the young people who participate in them learn. In this first stage we carried out a cartography of the virtual communities with Spanish youth participants. In the second stage, from a virtual ethnography approach, we will carry out a depth study of those communities that are most significant among those identified in the first phase (from 4 to 6) for their relevance to young people learning. The results of this contribution focuses on the identification and mapping of the communities. We have identified 25 virtual communities in which Spanish young people are involved and draw up a first classification where we will present their categories, typologies and some examples. This classification has also allowed us to evaluate the relevance of dimensions such as community conformation, multimodality, participation and heterogeneity among participants, to address the young people learning that takes place in these virtual communities.