Community Values

Values of Online Learning Communities

Technology cannot replace all other community connections, but it can provide some continuity and conveniences:

  • Access to Peers
  • Connections to external experts
  • Ongoing News
  • Announcements of external events
  • Links to other sites
  • Library of references

The value of belonging to a community derives not only from having access to peers, but also from having access to leading-edge, broader trends and perspectives:

  • What is happening
  • What is hot in the field
  • New developments, new tools, new technologies
  • Evaluation and reviews
  • External experts
  • Reference material

Potential long-term community values:

  • Define common methods and processes or “best practices”
  • Produce and store artifacts, tools, documents
  • Maintain the knowledge base to keep it up to date and usable
  • Learning agenda: a community can take charge of its practice and agree on a list of areas to develop
  • Practice-building projects: mature communities often generate project teams to work on specific practice-development tasks on their learning agenda, such as developing a template, a tool, or a manual

Learning Communities and Personal Development

Personal development is a key benefit of belonging to and participating in a community. Members bring their identities to the community and their participation both develops and shapes their identities including:

  • Personal passions
  • Competence/Areas of specialization
  • Reputation/assessment/rewards
  • Various roles people play in the community
  • Professional connections
  • Peer interactions
  • Personal relationships
  • Trust
  • Helping, mentoring, teaching
  • Mutual give and take
  • Finding a voice/sharing expertise

An online community can offer multiple ways for an individual to create and share an online identity including:

  • Profiles
  • Community role identification
  • Synchronizing profiles across communities, with multiple views
  • Reputation and ranking
  • Preferences
  • Personal history
  • Private places