Virtual Learning Communities
This research is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
This research program examines the fundamental components and characteristics of virtual learning communities in formal and non-formal learning environments with the aim of developing a model of virtual learning communities that is grounded in practice. When educators attempt to develop virtual learning communities, a number of issues emerge. Some issues are financial and logistic—how does one assemble the technological and personal systems necessary to construct and maintain a communication system? But the more important questions seem to centre on the design, implementation, pedagogy and effects of virtual learning communities, the socio-educational aspects of learning through this means of communication.
This program of research addresses two fundamental questions:
- Do elements of physical communities exhibit themselves in virtual learning communities, and do they inform our understanding of how these communities contribute to learning environments?
- How do contextual, pedagogical, social and cultural issues influence participation in virtual learning communities?
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