„As technology increasingly takes over knowledge-based work, the cognitive skills that are central to today’s education systems will remain important; but behavioral and non-cognitive skills necessary for collaboration, innovation, and problem solving will become essential as well.“
Klaus Schwab

We had two weeks to explore factors that influence students’ community experiences in an online learning environment.

What makes an online learning community?

According to Rockinson-Szapkiw et al. (2016) learning community consists of the feelings of community members regarding the degree to which they share group norms and values and the extent to which their educational goals and expectations are satisfied by group membership. […] common goals and values are essential elements of community, […] normation, or the willingness of students to internalize group-shared expectations, is an important aspect of a learning community.

From cooperation to collaboration

An online learning community needs special skills so that collaborative learning becomes possible and the community does not remain in cooperative learning. Rovai (2002) emphasizes that proper attention should be given to building communities in distance education, as it is a „sense of community“ that attracts and sustains learners. „Sense of community occurs when members of such communities exhibit behaviors that are associated with the traditional concept of community. Members of online communities support common goals and a strong commitment to community goals […] recognize boundaries that define who belongs and who does not, establish their own hierarchies of expertise and modes of interaction […]. Members also share a common history and a common meeting place (e.g., the virtual classroom). Rules of behavior and a shared history provide an identity for the group and a way of knowing how to behave and how to anticipate the behavior of others […].
But how is a learning community led to collaborative learning? Explanations can be found in the PBL group presentations on topic 4 (e.g. PBL 15).

Questions Webinar on Topic 3, November 5, 2019

Why should we collaborate?

During the ONL192 webinar, Miriam Fischer was looking for an answer in the VUCA concept. According to this concept we live in a VUCA World. That means a world of volatility (unstable conditions, fast and unpredictable changes), uncertainty (about the future as well as unpredictable markets), complexity (non-transparent systems, in which rules and effects are difficult to see) and ambiguity (information and situations can no longer be interpreted clearly in the international working world). To cope with this world, we need 21st century Learning & Innovation Skills – 4Cs like critical thinking, communication, creativity and COLLABORATION. During the same webinar, Francisca Frenks collected from the ONL192 arguments that speak in favor of collaborative learning (see padlet).


Appel, D., Fischer, M., & Frenks, F. (2019, November). Learning in Communities networked collaborative learning. Presented at the Webinar topic 3, ONL 192. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1FLkaYGJ9OzFe-EEN3gW6VH-WgDWpQD6n

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A., Wendt, J., Whighting, M., & Nisbet, D. (2016). The Predictive Relationship Among the Community of Inquiry Framework, Perceived Learning and Online, and Graduate Students’ Course Grades in Online Synchronous and Asynchronous Courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(3). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v17i3.2203

Rovai, A. P. (2002). Development of an instrument to measure classroom community. The Internet and Higher Education, 5(3), 197–211. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1096-7516(02)00102-1

Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning