TEL Communities

Helen Caldwell and Anna Cox | View as single page | Feedback/Impact
TEL Communities
Definitions: Theoretical background relevant to technology facilitated social learning
Research evidence: Systematic literature reviews on the theme of technology facilitated social learning

How to use this guide

This MESH guide will be useful for educators who are interested in designing and evaluating social online learning, creating online courses such as MOOCs, facilitating online communities and networks, or integrating technology use into their teaching. Drawing from relevant learning theory and research evidence, including a number of systematic literature reviews and a selection of key studies, the guide outlines ways in which technology can facilitate the co-construction of knowledge in online and blended learning environments. It suggests pedagogic strategies and frameworks for designing online learning spaces and communities of practice, and considers the roles of participants and teachers within them.

A number of case study examples are presented to illustrate how the ideas can translate into practice and how they can be embedded in teacher education courses. The case studies document the use of tools such as community spaces, blogs, forums and collaborative documents to create online classrooms where interactions occur, and where students understand the value of having choice over their learning pathways and belonging to a supportive community of practice. An aim of the guide is to provide hands-on tips for educators which can be used to raise the quality of current practice, and reflection points for the development of teaching and learning across age phases, subjects and locations. By outlining an evidence base for such an approach, it provides a rationale for using technology to support social learning in diverse contexts and for diverse purposes.