E-Learning Groups and Communities

E-Learning Groups and Communities

E-Learning Groups and Communities

E-Learning Groups and Communities


  • How can we design networked e-learning courses to ensure students participate in them and engage in quality learning outcomes?
  • What happens in an e-learning course that is designed to foster group work and a sense of 'community'?
  • How can we research e-learning practice in ways that will enhance the processes of learning and teaching?

This book outlines approaches to networked e-learning course design that are underpinned by a belief that students learn best in these contexts when they are organised in groups and communities. As such, the book is one of the first to provide a detailed analysis of what goes on in e-learning groups and communities.

But how do students react to working in e-learning groups and communities? What determines their willingness to adopt new forms of learning in order to participate in these new courses? What actually happens in an e-learning community, and what impact does this have on students and tutors? This book examines these key questions through a variety of research approaches aimed at exploring the experience of e-learners as they participate in successful e-groups and communities. It also offers ways in which learning outcomes may be achieved in these communities and outlines the specific skills that students would develop through e-learning.

E-learning Groups and Communities is essential reading for teachers, trainers, managers, researchers and students involved in e-learning courses as well as people interested in improving the quality of the learning experience.


This book is about learning, but learning that takes place in virtual spaces where students do not physically meet other students, and where teachers do not physically meet their students. But students and teachers do 'meet]: they meet in virtual learning environments (VLEs) through the use of computers linked together through networks such as the Internet. This is called 'e-learning'. The students and teachers often live in different countries, and often come from different cultures.

The book is about how we can design e-learning events and courses that bring these people together and give them a strong sense of belonging, of being a community of like-minded learners.

The book contains ideas about learning and teaching that may challenge some teachers and students. Two themes exist throughout. One is that learning involves students in social processes where they learn in the company of others through collaborative and cooperative learning, and that these best occur in the form of groups and communities of learners. The other is that new learning technologies such as VLEs provide the architecture needed to support groups and communities in cyberspace. These two themes that of e-learning groups and communities and that of advanced learning technologies permeate the chapters of the book.

The scope of the book is both local and global. I draw on experiences of students and tutors (my own included) to highlight in some detail what it is like to learn and teach in e-learning groups and communities. This is achieved through a variety of small-scale qualitative research studies aimed at illuminating the experience of e-learning, and which provide indepth, rich and authentic insights. The book is global in the sense that readers can vicariously 'imagine' themselves in what they read, and from this generalize to their personal or particular contexts and circumstances. The contents of the book offer teachers, students, researchers, managers and others involved in education understandings of student learning in this new environment.

Hundreds of years of teaching in schools, colleges and institutions of higher education have produced teaching practices that are commonly . . .

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