Online Learning Communities

Significance of online community building

Online community building can be described as an online group who shares a common purpose. Learners help one another in the learning process in order to enhance their potential, and come up with new knowledge. An online learning community is a very resourceful tool for sharing, managing ideas, technology, and education.  It breaks the monotony of learning in a classroom setup where there is face-to-face interaction with the tutor (Pratt & Palloff, 2012).

Essential elements of online community building

One of the key elements in online community building is it involves a group of people who can coordinate, and work well together. These people come together for a common purpose, which is to learn, share ideas, and give assistance to each other. Another element is the process, in which defines the way earning is conducted.

How the online learning communities affect the learner’s learning and satisfaction with online education

Laureate Education, Inc. (2012.) asserts that through the process of collaborating, actively engaging in dialogue with each other, and sharing ideas; learners are able to come out more informed, and with co-created knowledge. Apart from this, the learner’s perception of learning becomes much deeper.

How the online learning communities can be sustained

Boettcher and Conrad (2010) outlines that sustaining an online community requires active participation of all the stakeholders involved. Such stakeholders include the learners, and the instructor. The instructor must play his or her role in mentoring the learners, and ensuring that the learning environment is conducive and safe. Learners on the other hand should play the role of participating, and interacting within the community to achieve their goals.

The relationship between community building and effective online instruction

Successful online building communities yield many benefits; such as increased satisfaction, and a sense of belonging. In my opinion, Instructor modeling is very vital in community building. Effective instruction motivates and creates more interaction and dialogue between the learner, and the instructor if factors; such as communication, time and participation are taken into consideration.  In an online community, communication with the entire class is easier, online setup allows students to be themselves, time schedule is flexible and there is plenty of time for deliberation. These are essential in community building. However, if the learning environment is not developed appropriately; the students may feel isolated, lonely, and may even drop their courses before completion.  Effective online learning instruction can have a significant impact on communities when done appropriately. This can be achieved by using a group of people who are willing to cooperate, and learn through establishment of the correct procedures and a common purpose.


Pratt, K., & Palloff, R. M. (2012). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R.-M. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2012.) [Video]. “Online learning communities.” Retrieved from


One Comment

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  1. Reply to Leola,
    Your post is very insightful and informative as well. You have nailed down the essential elements to successfully build an online learning community. As argued, though there has been a social presence and a supportive discourse all along within the course structure, but an active participation is required if one has been aimed to retain learners for a school. Additionally, Palloff and Pratt (2012) argue that online instructors should welcome each learner by sending out email letters on all weeks to refresh their knowledge with the required information so they can actively engage and participate with the course requirements. Conclusively, I would argue that for a successful online learning community to occur, one should notice a shifting from the learners’ roles as cooperators, collaborators, initiators and partners to the instructors as social negotiators, structural engineers, facilitators, challengers and partners. Once one has noticed that shifting, one could clearly state that this effective online community exists and it can sustain an educational experience to occur within any course design structure. Thank you for sharing with us this great insight Leola. Take care!
    Respectfully Submitted,


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