Learning Communities


Extract from Issue#27 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link

Online Learning Model: Learning Communities

By: Michelle Wilkinson, Vicki Jordan & Alissa Brabin

CSU Division of Learning & Teaching

Source: Learning Online Unit: OLM Educator Hub

Learning Communities supported through online communication tools, subject design, and teacher facilitation ensure the student feels part of, and actively contributes to, a learning community, factors which link directly to student motivation and resilience.

What are some of the strategies that might be considered?

These are just some of the learning communities strategies that could be considered:*

  • Sub-cohorts – The creation of smaller-sub cohorts within large cohorts, facilitated by a tutor who guides the community building, provides formative feedback through discussion forums and is responsible for the marking of summative assessment tasks;
  • Facilitated Socialisation – Learning activities that support students through orientation to the online environment, socialisation and personalisation of the environment, prior to undertaking curriculum focused community learning activities;
  • Shared Activity – Community building through contribution to a shared resource such as a gallery of photos containing examples of a concept or experiences from professional placement;
  • Social Media – Establishment of social media streams supporting the sharing of ideas and resources, using tools such as Twitter, Instagram or shared bookmarking tools.

* The links in this section will take you to CSULX, the Online Learning Exchange, where you will find an overview of the strategy, benefits for learning and teaching, examples in practice, guides and tools for implementation and links to further resources.

References available from the CSU Library:

Akyol, Z., & Garrison, D. R. (2011). Understanding cognitive presence in an online and blended community of inquiry: Assessing outcomes and processes for deep approaches to learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42: 233-250. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01029.x

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K.A. (1998). Cooperative learning returns to college: What evidence is there that it works? Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 30(4), 26-35. doi:10.1080/00091389809602629

Slavin, R. E. (1996). Research on cooperative learning and achievement: What we know, what we need to know. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21(1), 43-69. doi:10.1006/ceps.1996.0004