Paper Title
Learning Environments And Social Applications: What’s Next?

The paper presents the long-term experience of using learning environments like Learning Management Systems under the constant pressure and competition of social media (like Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram etc.) used for what they are not, i.e., educational tools. Our Laboratory of the University of Trento has developed some educational services for internal usage, and we recently managed the evolution of the system towards a new approach oriented to the creation of virtual communities. This approach is, at first sight, quite similar to social media communities, specifically when they are used to support day-by-day learning activities, especially in those organizations that do not have resources and competencies to manage an LMS by themselves. We will introduce the problems related to the integration of these two different logics into a single environment (learning spaces and collaboration through social interactions), and how to provide those elements of social media that are needed in learning environment, without forcing people to jump from one platform to another. We will describe the developed solution, together with some implications of these choices onto the system, named “On Line Communities”. The system presents the idea of virtual communities as pillars of the interaction mechanisms provided by the platform to the users. This revealed, in our opinion, on one side the limitations of tradional LMS, and on the other side, the inappropriateness of social networks as platforms for supporting learning activities.