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5 rules for building successful online learning communities

5 rules for building successful online learning communities

Category: eLearning

To be successful, an online learning community must truly engage its learners by providing an environment in which knowledge can be transferred and high quality learning offered, as well as creating a real sense of community collaboration.

Here’s what we believe are the five top steps you need to take to make your learning community a success.

1. Identify your learning domain

Your learning domain, and its areas of focus, needs to be clearly defined. Make sure that your community’s members both share and understand its goals.

2. Content is king

User interfaces are important, but, quality, engaging learning is driven, more than anything, by quality content. Provide your learners with the best content you can as a matter of priority.

3. Choose the right technology

There are many and plentiful technology choices for supporting online communities, ranging from simple discussion boards to complex, comprehensive platforms. Those choices supporting the following are the best-equipped to encourage vibrant, successful communities:

  • Multiple media: text, images, interactive images, audio, video, animations and assessments
  • Synchronous communication: chat and voice and instant messaging
  • Presence awareness: allows you to know who else is online so you can interact with them if desired or needed
  • File sharing: gives users the abilities to upload and share files, share ideas in real time and work together on reviewing or annotating documents or whiteboards

4. Set policies and procedures

For example, who in your group will be allowed to upload content and content of what type? Who will be your moderators and what will your privacy policy be?

5. Feedback and more feedback

Encourage community members to share feedback of their learning experience so that you can monitor the effectiveness of your learning content and of the community as a whole. Assessments and surveys and community specific rating schemes will all encourage more feedback.

A successful online learning community is one in which members are encouraged to be active participants, sharing knowledge and experience with the goal of helping each other. Your aim is to make this easier for community members by building a community that is friendly, active, open and easy to use as well as providing an enjoyable, accessible and memorable learning experience.

Tim Buff
Author: Tim Buff

This article was published by Tim Buff on 12.01.2016. Tim is CEO and Chief Learning Strategist at Agylia. Tim's role is to help people and companies design and implement digital learning strategies - this often involves pushing boundaries to develop innovative and creative solutions.

Some of our clients:
  • Microsoft
  • Deloitte
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  • Samaritans
  • PGA
  • BACP
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • CGT Catapult
  • National Youth Agency
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Royal Society for Public Health
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Furniture Village
  • Morgan Sindall