Learning Communities and online courses

Learning community vs participants in an on line course- There seem to be temporary or ephemeral communities, which come together in an online course, and permanent or self sustaining learning communities, learning networks built around topic specific areas which may or may not integrate online courses into it’s practice. There are design implications for either choice, but clearly defining the goal at the outset is necessary. Are we building an oline course or creating a place for a learning community.

And experience has taught that a learning community cannot be “enforced”. This is one of the difficulties facing a current attempt we have going on. It takes more than a shared interest in a topic. The element of engagement and investment is important. But again, you are faced with the inability to create engaged members, it has to arise from the user…value has to be seen in participation.

And that is one thing which vexes me perpetually. It seems so plain that coming together online, creating together online, makes the preservation of knowledge so much easier. The threads of a discussion board can accreate nuggets of information which would otherwise live in isolated emails or recalled phone conversations. It seems like such a more active means of building knowledge to me. To participate together.

And it is easy to imagine a LC which spawns online courses.

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