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The idea of a LearningCommunity is often used in formal education as a way of facilitating learning through shared problem solving and collaboration. The idea is so that people work together in what Vygotsky termed their ¨Zone of Proximal Development¨, or put more simply, their academic or social peers. The theory, also heavily linked with Constructivism, is that people learn socially and are better able and motivated to learn when given the chance to work together to solve a given problem. It is also thought to inspire a more engaged, emotional and creative response to the task at hand. Another term for a smaller learning community is a cohort group.

Potentially, larger systems, like wikis, are also learning communities, whereby contributors/participants actively engage in solving a problem or sharing perspectives - in a SocialContext?. Debating about the content of a given page is not just a battleground of ideas but an experience of the nature of knowledge construction itself. There is also the aspect of gaining new literacy skills - not everyone on the wiki is using their first language, nor are they equally competent with the wiki syntax required to edit a page freely, nor will they necessarily know where else on the wiki is relevant to their field of interest. By helping each other along in this way, we are contributing to each other's skill base and knowledge and thereby shaping a learning community in the process.

See also:
CategoryEducation CategoryOnlineCommunity


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