A community is socially organized around relationships as a result of seeking a common ground that builds upon “community by kinship, of mind, of place, and of memory” (Sergiovanni, 1994, p. xvi). Participating in the activities of others and contributing to cooperative doings may reveal identity construction in the social process of forging a community. Such a communitybuilding process is further reinforced by its members’ increased belonging and shared identity, values, norms, communication, and supporting behavior. However, along with the rapid postmodern technological developments, the notion of community has changed as current community involves “virtual as well as actual, global as well as local” (Palloff & Pratt, 1999, p. 25). As a result, a relationship-focused rather than place-based community has expanded the parameters of community concept, as is the case with networked-learning community. Seen in this light, this article examines the notions of community, of learning community, and of networked-learning community that is related to technological developments. A discussion of trends, issues, and strategies that can be used to foresee, solve, and maximize learning outcomes in the networked online learning environments will also be addressed.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Blended Learning Communities: are groups of people gathered together for certain educational purposes through online learning and face-to-face meetings. Engaged learners communicate, share thoughts, and collaborate learning via online discussions, Web conferences, or other methods before and/or after a face-to-face learning event.
Student Learning Communities: are formed by students from different grades or classes to achieve better learning outcomes through collaborative and active approaches to learning. Student learning communities link together courses or course work so that students may find greater coherence in what they are learning as well as gain greater intellectual interaction with faculty and peers.
Faculty Learning Communities: (FLCs) are formed by teachers to address teaching, learning, and developmental needs so as to reduce the isolation, fragmentation, stress, and neglect in the academy. Teachers can propose topics to the FLC program director to address special teaching and learning needs, or issues.
Learning Community: is a purposeful restructuring of the curriculum that links together courses or course work so that learners may find greater coherence in what they are learning and have access to increased intellectual interaction with faculty and peers ( Gabelnick, et al., 1990 ).
Collaborative Learning: is a term used for various educational approaches that involve intellectual efforts by groups/pairs of students working mutually to understand content, solve problems, and create projects.
E-Learning Communities: are groups of people connected solely via technology for certain purposes. All interactions begin and occur over the Internet through conference calls, videoconferencing, and so forth. These communities promote virtual collaboration that focuses upon addressing a specific topic and are thus supported by one or more online learning and media tools ( Kaplan, 2002 ).