Evaluating an online learning community: Intellectual, social and emotional development and transformations

Elaine Khoo, Michael Forret


Developing online learning communities is a promising pedagogical approach in online learning contexts for adult tertiary learners, but it is no easy task. Understanding how learning communities are formed and evaluating their efficacy in supporting teaching-learning involves a complex set of issues that have a bearing on the design and facilitation of successful online learning experiences. This paper presents findings of a case study of a semester-long online graduate course designed to facilitate a learning community at a New Zealand tertiary institution. It adopts a sociocultural analytical framework and argues for a multiple developmental analytical approach to evaluating learning that considers lecturer and student intellectual, social and emotional development and transformations. Implications are presented for online lecturers, course designers and institutional administrators.


Online teaching; online learning; learning communities; evaluation; outcomes of teaching and learning; transformations of identities; tertiary; New Zealand

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v20i3.236


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015