User-Centered Design Principles for Online Learning Communities: A Sociotechnical Approach for the Design of a Distributed Community of Practice
Ben K. Daniel (University of Saskatchewan, Canada), David O’Brien (University of Saskatchean, Canada) and Asit Sarkar (University of Saskatchean, Canada)
Copyright: © 2008
This chapter examines current research on online learning communities (OLCs), with aim of identifying User-Centred Design (UCD) principles critical to the emergence and sustainability of distributed communities of practice (DCoP), a kind of an 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 programme 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 perfromance and sustainability of DCoP. The chapter concludes with a discussion of User-Centred Design (UCD) principles for online learning community to support the construction and deployment of online learning communities.