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

The MOOC online community

A Google + community gave us a visual platform for reflecting and sharing ideas prompted by the course materials and a forum for discussions on the weekly themes. This relates to Wenger, Trayner, & De Laat’s definition of social learning as the collaborative construction of new knowledge through dialogues sharing familiar concepts, problems and insights in a constructive way. (Wenger, Trayner, & De Laat, 2011).

Technology outdoors course images

Link to the online community:

Online community image

Following on from the course materials, the G+ community is also highly visual, and is a good example of balancing talking and doing. Most posts have an example of the ‘doing’ : variations of the digital artifacts used across different educational contexts, followed by a discussion in the comments. Through this process the participants are developing:

• joint enterprise - a collective understanding of what the community is about, its purpose

• mutual engagement - interacting and establishing norms, expectations, and relationships  

• shared repertoire - using communal resources

(Wenger, 1998)


Wenger E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E., Trayner, B., & De Laat, M. (2011). Telling stories about the value of communities and networks: A toolkit. Heerlen: Open University of the Netherlands.