Online Learning Community: Building the Professional Capacity of Indonesian Teachers

Online Learning Community: Building the Professional Capacity of Indonesian Teachers

Eunice Sari (Edith Cowan University, Australia) and Cher Ping Lim (Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5780-9.ch113


This chapter describes the role of the online learning community named OLC4TPD (Online Learning Community for Teacher Professional Development) in building professional capacity of Indonesian teachers. OLC4TPD was contextually built to address the challenges of teacher professionalism in Indonesia, which has contributed significantly to students' learning outcome. As an independent informal online learning community, OLC4TPD plays a unique role in schools' professional learning community. The authors investigate the role of OLC4TPD from different pillars that hold the professional learning community edifice. The four pillars are (1) collaborative teamwork, (2) teacher capacity, (3) leadership capacity, and (4) professional development. The chapter explains this unique role by showcasing several authentic examples on how OLC4TPD has improved professional capacity of teachers and teacher educators in an Indonesian context.
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Online Learning Community (Olc)

OLC has been used as a means to support teacher professional development in several Western countries, including Australia (Scott & Scott, 2010; Scott, 2003), Canada (Friesen & Clifford, 2003; Lock, 2006), US (Barab, et al., 2001) and Finland (Arvaja, et al., 2010; Helleve, 2010). Previous studies advocate that OLC is a viable means to cultivate sharing and provide a sustainable support for teachers (Barab, et al., 2001; Dede, 2000; Lock, 2006). It provides opportunity for teachers to reflect and examine their practice which can lead to transformative professional development (Windschitl, 2002). In developing countries, like Indonesia, online community is widely used means for social communication, but a systematic study on the use of online community for professional development of teachers has not yet been conducted.

There are many concepts developed around OLC, however, they have a common ground around the core elements of the OLC. Social learning, which is strongly influenced by Vygotky’s social constructivist perspective (Vygotsky, 1978), is the main core element that constructs OLC. In an OLC environment, there is an interdependency between social and individual interaction in the co-construction of knowledge process (Palincsar, 1998). In their study about OLC, Tu and Corry discussed that there are four other elements on the top of the social learning that form the OLC. These are Community (community of practice), Learning (collaborative learning), Networking (social presence) and Technology (knowledge construction).

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