eLearning Brothers Instructional Designer Kristian Spring joined us last week to share research-based methods for building learning communities—whether your training program is online, blended, or in-person.
Kristian works with the eLearning Brothers Custom Solutions team. During this webinar, she shared research from her dissertation. The data was collected in a blended learning context in partnership with a university. Learners met weekly in-person while also taking 3 online courses over the course of a year. Kristian interviewed learners and asked them to rate their academic and emotional engagement over the course of their learning experience.
“Engagement could be described as the holy grail of learning.”
Sinatra & co-authors. (2015) The challenges of defining and measuring student engagement in science.” Educational Psychologist. 50(1). 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2014.1002924
People have different communities—friends and family, peers (online and in-person), and instructors (online and in-person)—all these communities increase engagement.
Kristian’s research showed that the stronger and the bigger a student’s social network was, the more engaged the student was. One thing that stood out was that having high support in the face-to-face community improved the online engagement, sometimes more than having high support in the online community improved the online engagement. However, even having only online support helps engagement overall.
Some things teachers did to branch out and increase engagement in the online portion of the program:
- Chat rooms (synchronous or asynchronous)
- Peer-review assignments
- Group projects
- Video chats
eLearning Strategies to Help Build Community
- Stop and Collaborate
- Take a break in the learning
- Use the eLearning to direct group learning
- Practice Social Interactions
- Blended Learning
- Social Learning
- Set Goals
Watch the video to see Kristian’s examples of those different strategies to build community:
Need a little more help with learner engagement? Contact our custom solutions team to see how we can help you build engaging eLearning.