I am taking a workshop with a colleague (Anne Trewern) on Tuesday with the title â€œEmerging trends in online learning communities – challenges of learner centred approaches to lifelong learning.â€ and have been thinking what we will cover.
I am certain that need to draw out the difference between formal from non-formal learning communities and I think that I also want to try and cover the challenges from the perspectives from people with different roles in these communities. For example, this could include the learning facilitator/researcher relationship in the Ultraversity online degree project, or perhaps facilitators trying to engage participants in non-formal communities in discussions around professional practice. And clearly, we will have to address some of the technological challenges as well.
Anne has just completed a great piece of research into non-formal learning communities for teachers on a programme called Information Communication Technology Professional Development that uses the NCSL Talk2learn software. We will certainly use some of this in the workshop.
I am thinking that the theme that we might develop to hold the workshop together might be that of alignment. There is certainly research evidence that points to importance of stakeholders understanding and agreeing a purpose and the problems that can ensue if this is not the case. Certainly some of the recent experience in have provided me with much food for thought!
So how do those who are tasked with leading these communities make sense of this? Indeed is leadership of these communities a helpful notion at all?