Learning communities in e-learning platforms
As part of the practicum for the Social Education diploma course at the University of Huelva (Spain), a WebCT platform was used in academic year 2007-08 to support creation and development of learning communities of students engaged in online discussions to resolve the real cases they faced at their work centres. Analysing the frequency distributions and correlations in data collected via a questionnaire, the following conclusions were drawn: (a) prior training of students in the use of learning management systems for cooperative learning is a fundamental aspect to the creation of a learning community; (b) the presence of the tutor is associated with creation of an environment of trust and support within the community; (c) the sense of community among the students is associated with their participation in and commitment to the group and the social presence of the tutor. The results of this experiment serve as a point of reference for future practice and research.
E-learning; learning management systems (LMS); practicals, interaction; learning environments; virtual communities.
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