LEARNING IN COMMUNITY: USING BLOGGING TO FACILITATE AND CULTIVATE A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNERS
Kolb (1984) identifies learning as a process whereby knowledge is created through transformation of experience. Wenger (1998) would further suggest that education is a mutual development process between communities and its learners, well beyond mere socializing. The value of learning “in community”, then, affords educators an opportunity to create the just right conditions for themselves as both teacher and learner. The success of learning communities depends on reciprocal engagement of its members to share knowledge, experiences, and skills with colleagues (Kling & Courtright, 2003). This study examined the case for blogging as a means to facilitate a self-directed community of professional learners, educators who endeavour to further develop their knowledge, understanding, and expertise of teaching and learning via the cultivation of an authentic informal online learning community. Using social learning theory as the analytical framework, this study looked at ways participation in informal, self-directed online learning communities not only encourages, but discloses potential barriers in participants’ abilities to (1) develop their understanding of teaching and learning as a self-directed, informal online community of engaged professionals; (2) expand their understanding of blogging as a tool to engage and participate in informal, online self-directed professional learning; and (3) deepen their understanding of working within the context of community: self-directed professionals engaging informally online to support, enhance, and reflect critically as engaged learners, specifically through the blogging process. This study investigated various motivations and actions that might bring participants together as engaged, self-directed professional learners and better explain how and why these informal online communities might experience success. Ultimately, it was the researcher’s hope this study would identify specific elements within the participants’ learning, offering both insight and relevance for educators as an engaged, informal, self-directed online community of professional learners.
Community, informal, self-directed, professional, online, learning, technology, blogging
Master of Education (M.Ed.)