This chapter examines current research on online learning communities (OLCs), with the aim of identifying user-centered design (UCD) principles critical to the emergence and sustainability of distributed communities of practice (DCoPs), a kind of OLC. This research synthesis is motivated by the authors’ involvement in constructing a DCoP dedicated to improving awareness, research, and sharing data and knowledge in the field of governance and international development. It argues that the sociotechnical research program offers useable insights on questions of constructability. Its attention in particular to participatory design and human-computer interaction are germane to designing user-centered online learning communities. Aside from these insights, research has yet to probe in any systematic fashion the factors affecting the performance and sustainability of DCoP. The chapter concludes with a discussion of UCD principles for online learning community to support the construction and deployment of online learning communities.