By analyzing and mapping interactions, you have a better overview of what people are doing and how they learn/perform. As such I see two fields of interest: education/training and knowledge management in corporations.
Education and training benefits
you can localize students or learners that are at risk (of not understanding, of having decreasingly less time...). The SNAPP-people have listed some great benefits of network diagrams:
* identify disconnected (at risk) students;
* identify key information brokers within your class;
* identify potentially high and low performing students so you can plan interventions before you even mark their work;
* indicate the extent to which a learning community is developing in your class;
* provide you with a “before and after” snapshot of what kinds of interactions happened before and after you intervened/changed your learning activity design (useful to see what effect your changes have had on student interactions and for demonstrating reflective teaching practice e.g. through a teaching portfolio)
* allow your students to benchmark their performance without the need for marking.
Adding to these, I think SNAPP also allows us to pinpoint lurkers (who might be a good target audience for research, e.g. did they get something out of the course, and why did they only lurk?)
Additionally, you can filter out those students that might be good future facilitators, giving them an extra incentive to be active in a course. For students that are in the middle of the interactions, are clearly motivated and strong in reaching out and communicating. We use this 'stepping up' strategy with one of our online courses which uses facilitators from across the world.
Another educational benefit is for looking at peer-2-peer interactions. It might be that you do not get much feedback from a student, but after analysing the interactions, you might see that that same student is a real peer-2-peer knowledge node, and as such has great course value.
Performance and knowledge management benefits
This SNAPP approach can also be used for knowledge management. Let's say you have a internal, central 'help' forum inside your company. And there is a person responsible for giving help on that forum. It might well be that after you screen the forum with SNAPP, you can see that someone else in your organization offers just as much help or support, just because they know the subject. As such you can give a bonus, or a different function to that active employee and stimulate knowledge transfer in your organization.
I am surely planning to use this to a greater extend in order to get a better idea of what is happening on the learner side.