Here are some lessons I’ve learned about online learning communities that are developed in support of training and education:
- A loose-knit online learning community can scale to many participants and remain effective.
- Only a small percentage, ~ 10%, of members, will be active.
- If facilitators can seed good topics and provide feedback, then conversations can flourish.
- If you use a very gentle hand in controlling members/learners, some will become highly participative.
- Design for after the formal course, using tools like social bookmarks, so that artifacts can be used for reference or performance support.
- Create the role of “synthesizer” (could be the community manager or someone else) from the onset, who will summarize the previous week’s activities.
- Keep the structure loose enough so that it can grow or change according to the needs of the community.