The Power of Learning Communities
Learning communities have been recognized as a powerful education tool since the establishment of the physical classroom where a group of students and a teacher interact and learn. However, technology has modernized the way a learning community can communicate by introducing new ways to connect, teach, learn and collaborate.
The widespread accessibility of technology has enhanced learning communities, changing education as a whole. Technology, of course, enables educators to easily create a learning space but why build an online learning community?
Edudemic outlines the benefits of developing an online learning community over the tradition model:
- No physical boundaries
- Supports in-class learning
- Builds a social and collaborative learning experience
Read the full Edudemic article “How to Build Effective Online Communities” for more details. Online learning communities also open up a myriad of possibilities for students and offer opportunities to learn in a new, more interactive and engaging way.
How to Hack a Learning Community
Despite the clear advantages that technology affords however, teachers are often unsure or unaware of how to build effective learning communities for their students. A number of barriers have existed in the past which have created this reluctance to act:
- Institutional Restrictions: Teachers are constrained by the tools available and the ease-of-use of existing systems
- Necessary Skills: Teachers feel they don’t have the necessary IT skills to set-up and manage a virtual community
- Resources: It isn’t easy to find a platform that provides a connected network and great learning tools.
Now there is a free solution that allows you to set-up a learning community in minutes without any restrictions or IT knowledge. ExamTime gives teachers the ability to create, discover and share learning resources with a few simple clicks. ExamTime’s learning tools were created with education in mind and can truly revolutionise the way teachers and students learn together.
The ExamTime Groups feature was developed with the idea of easily creating a sustainable learning community online where teachers and students can interact and share education content with a simple click. Your ExamTime Group is also accessible and completely free. Not only is it a great way for teachers to communicate with students, it can also be used for peer-to-peer group projects as classmates can share their study notes and ideas with each other.
Here’s how to create an ExamTime Group:
- Sign up to ExamTime
- Create Study Resources: Once logged in, click on the “Create” button and select the type of resource to begin: Mind Map, Flashcard, Quiz or Notes
- Create a Learning Group: Invite your friends, students and peers to your group simply by adding their email address.
- Share Study Resources: Once you have complete your study resource, click “Share” to spread the word to members of your community. Share a “copy & edit” version of your resource to allow students to add their input to a topic
- Discover Other Study Resources: The ExamTime “Search” features means you can easily discover a vast range of education content whether it’s as general as a Note on Basic Biology Terms or as specific as a Geography Mind Map about how to Reduce the Impact of Earthquakes
ExamTime’s Groups tool exemplifies an Online Learning Community by giving users a platform to learn together as a group through interaction and sharing of education content.
Enrich your Online Learning Community
Many educators are using online channels such as social networks to create learning communities but these are not designed with education in mind. ExamTime was created with the help of teachers and students worldwide who requested the Groups feature to build online learning communities among their students.
However, social networks such as Twitter and blogs can be integrated into your ExamTime community to enrich the learning experience further. These tools are some of the popular resources used to create a Connected Classroom.
For example, your ExamTime online learning community could be used as a closed group while sharing on certain resources via other channels. Your ExamTime group would be your central information hub while you can decide to share study resources on social media or by embedding in your blog.
Final tip: Don’t leave your community to go stale, make your community thrive with regular updates and promote discussion. Get starting creating your own Online Learning Community here!