Online Learning Communities


Online learning is built much like a community except it is virtual. Having an online learning community allows students and teachers to support each other to belong lifelong learners. having a positive online community will allow the students to feel comfortable sharing and supporting each other. Dr. Rena Palloff Laureate Education (Producer) (2010) videofile posited, “ A community of students and faculty who explore content together to construct meaning and knowledge about that content.” The instructor is responsible for creating that conducive environment that can provide information in a safe way. In the online environment the students do not often see how much the instructor does because the course it so laid out. “ Laureate Education (Producer) (2010) videofile It might not be apparent, so facilitators need to explain to students how they will be supporting them in the learning community approach.” This will the students feel comfortable to share and participate as they would in a face to face situation. Collaborative acquisition of knowledge i one way to the success of creating an online learning environment, in the online environment collaborative activities are what all the clay to take form and meaning for the learner.Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011)

The essential elements of online community building is transparency and validity. Students and teachers need to see all that they are involved in, the content that is being introduced needs to valid and focuses only on what is stated in the goals and objectives of the course.  Accessibility is very important as  the students with different learning styles needs to be taken in consideration.

The content of the group need to be structured in a way that will allow the students to always interact with each other and the lecturer. The discussions and the activities need to well considered as there needs to be a constant learner to learner engagement where students can be empowered to connect with each other, as they are in charge of their own learning. Laureate Education (Producer) (2010) videofile  Everyone need to be involved in order for online learning to be successful.The instructor needs to thought of as an equal partner in the learning, while at the same time allow the students to take charge and be a facilitator. “The benefits of the learning community model is to promote student satisfaction, as well as have the students and teachers feel like they are apart of something larger. Laureate Education (Producer) (2010) videofile

“Involvement of the learner in the online course is critical to building the learning community. Engaged learning stimulates learners to actively participate in the learning situation.” Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011) Creating an online  learning community will allow the students to feel comfortable to share,this breaks down isolation and allows the students and the instruct to be more open and willing to share. It is great to reach out to the students in the online community as it a great way to retain the students and stem the attrition rate. Laureate Education (Producer) (2010) videofile It is great at the beginning of a class where instructors introduce himself sharing and allowing the students to get to know not only them but their virtual classmates. Having students work on projects is a great way to build the learning community. These students are given the opportunity to virtually interact and work with each other.



Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Updated ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Online learning communities [Video file]. Retrieved from

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5 thoughts on “Online Learning Communities

  1. Keisha Vaughn says:

    You used the following adjectives: support, transparency, and equal to essentially describe how an online learning community is created and nurtured. I like how you noted the importance of the instructor explaining how they will support the learners. I believe this level of transparency is needed to initial equality amongst the instructor and learners.

  2. jeremyhrhodes says:

    I agree with the statement A community of students and faculty who explore content together to construct meaning and knowledge about that content. From m experience when this Instructor and student interaction occurs not only does the student learn something new about the topic, but sometimes even the instructor learns something through the interaction with the students. For that reason, I believe that Learning communities are imperative to the success and continuation of online learning.

  3. Jason Wells says:

    Hi Donnett – Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your posting. I particularly appreciated your comments regarding learning styles. In terms of learning transfer and engagement, it is certainly important for the instructor to use a variety of tools to appeal to the various learning styles. In fact, multimedia is a great way to make certain that this is accomplished.


  4. Sheri McLaurin says:


    Thank you for pointing out the need for accessibility in the online learning environment. I know that accessibility is important, although, I don’t remember being required to talk about accessibility from the perspective of the Instructional Designer. After reading your post I was prompted to look for additional information about accessibility in the online learning environment. I found an interesting article describing the debate about who is responsible for disability accommodations. Do you think providing disability accommodations will become a legal concern for Instructional Designers?

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