A distinct difference between social learning and learning socially is the element of choice in the make-up of one’s social learning net. In a learning socially designed course, students learn and interact with course material right along with and purposefully including their existing social circles.
This concept is rather different than social learning but hints at a more psychological idea whereby less learned students glean higher order skills though the social interaction and scaffolding from more advanced students such as in the social learning theory of Lev Vygotsky.
The open aspect of a MOOC supports learning socially with a number of potential benefits. Increased course completion and enhanced learning may both be positive outcomes of the support which comes from an existing social net.
Could learning within one’s social net improve learning? Perhaps, learning will not only improve for the officially registered student but also for friends and family. To consider this, think of the valuable research on learning from memory expert Ebbinghouse which supports the value of repetition and engagement with content in learning.