20-21 April 2016

Workshop sessions with Nordic adult educators, Sisimiut, Greenland


Project members Barfuss Ruge and Jørgen Grubbe presented the project and discussed ways of activating silent learners at a number of meetings between adult educators from Greenland, Faroe Islands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The meetings were part of another Nordplus project, Nordic Study Lab.

12 May 2016

Workshop session: How to activate passive students


Held as part of an adult education conference, Kunskap är kul, in Östersund, Sweden.

Project members Jørgen Grubbe and Hróbjartur Arnason (University of Iceland) lead the workshop that was attended by around 70 participants from adult education organisations in the province of Jämtland.

A full report of the conference is available (in Swedish) at

The slideshow we presented is available at

18 May 2016

Webinar: Online Guidance for Invisible and Silent learners


Lead by project member Taru Kekkonen with colleagues from Otava Folk High School, Finland. A total of 28 people participated in the session.

See full description at

15 June 2016

Workshop session: Is lurking working?

Held at the EDEN 2016 conference (European Distance and E-learning Network) in Budapest, Hungary.


Project members Taru Kekkonen, Thorhild Slåtto, Hróbjartur Arnason  (University of Iceland) and Alastair Creelman lead the workshop both on-site and online with around 30 participants.

The material and discussion summaries from the workshop are available at

Abstract for the session

In this workshop, we will discuss reasons for passive/silent participation in courses and seminars (both online and on-site) and generate methods for encouraging more active participation. We will present the background and initial findings of our current project, Is Lurking working? (Nordplus 2015), and the findings of this workshop will provide valuable input to the project’s work. We believe that there are similarities between those who are silent learners on campus and online and that although the online environment may make it easier to remain silent the phenomenon is more about learner’s feeling of security and sense of belonging than a specific online issue.

15 November 2016

Presentation at Norwegian flexible learning conference FuNKon16, Oslo


Project member Hróbjartur Árnason  (University of Iceland)  presented project background and themes to around 25 conference participants via Adobe Connect. He discussed questions of how to promote greater engagement in online courses and whether or nor we should allow some learners to remain silent as long as they keep on track and complete the assignments.

See conference programme.

15 March 2017

Webinar: The power of silent learners in a group

Silent learners 15 March 2017

Watch the recorded webinar

This webinar was held in cooperation with our partners EDEN (European Distance and E-learning Network), NVL (Nordic Network for Adult Education) and ITHU (Swedish Network for IT in Higher Education).

We started the process with a tweetchat on the subject 8 March and you can read the discussion on Storify. As preparation for the webinar we asked participants to watch the TedX video by Susan Cain, The power of introverts. The webinar itself attracted 141 registrations, 80 of whom attended the live session and almost 800 watched the recording. Our intention was to focus on discussion and interaction and the chat window was active from the start with hundreds of comments and ideas by the end. 

Read a full report of the webinar.

19 May 2017

Presentation at EADL/FLUID conference in Copenhagen

Project member Taru Kekkonen presented findings from the project at the annual conference of EADL (European Association for Distance Learning) and FLUID (Danish Association for Flexible Learning)  18-19 May 2017. See full conference programme.

There are most often both active and passive learners in every classroom. Online learning doesn’t make an exception. But what makes it a bit more challenging is that passive online learners don’t really exist for others unless they make themselves somehow visible or audible in the online learning events.

NVL’s Distans network members were curious to know more about these silent learners. What motivates them? Why do they remain silent? How can their learning be best supported? Does active participation in (online) learning events guarantee better learning than apparently passive participation? Is lurking acceptable? Can it be considered “proper” learning?