I was prompted to dig deeper into the use of online learning communities when a colleague asked for assistance with setting up a wiki and commented that she ‘was only going to set it up if her teachers were going to use it’ .
This comment begged the questions:
*Were online learning communities being perceived, by some, as a ‘magic bullet’ for professional learning?
*What components contributed to the success or failure of online learning communities?
As luck would have it, a colleague, Heather Bell from Massey was conducting her thesis on the use of blended learning communities for professional learning. Heather was an invaluable resource for me in obtaining a ‘quick-fix’ understanding of what makes online professional learning communities tick.
The result was the attached power-point which I have since used as a guide in exploring with groups the prospect of setting up an online learning community.
The dialogue generated through these sessions definitely contributes to more rigorous decision making around the use of online learning communities.
Much of the thinking shared could be applied to classroom online learning environments.