Virtual Learning Communities: Success Factors and Challenges

Int. J. Technology Enhanced Learning, Vol. 4, Nos. 5/6, 2012

16 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2014

See all articles by René Wegener

René Wegener

University of Kassel - Information Systems

J. M. Leimeister

University of St. Gallen; University of Kassel - Information Systems

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Despite their didactical potential many Virtual Learning Communities (VLCs) fail in enhancing learning outcomes. Therefore, we synthesise factors most critical for establishing a successful VLC. Applying a structured literature review, we searched for studies dealing with VLCs in the well known databases Business Source Premier, Science Direct and ERIC. We identified, classified and synthesised 64 relevant papers. Results indicate that critical success factors include a strong instructor that acts in different facilitation roles, face-to-face meetings that help establishing social ties and well structured small-group assignments that scaffold the learning process. Main challenges are a lack of common goals, feelings of inhibition and technical problems. Based on the review, we offer concrete advice for instructors building up VLCs. We suggest that future research should focus on the design of methods and tools for instructors to facilitate the learning process in a less resource demanding way.

Keywords: learning; virtual community; success factors; literature review

Suggested Citation

Wegener, René and Leimeister, Jan Marco, Virtual Learning Communities: Success Factors and Challenges (2012). Int. J. Technology Enhanced Learning, Vol. 4, Nos. 5/6, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2485230

René Wegener

University of Kassel - Information Systems ( email )

Nora-Platiel 4
Kassel, 34127
Germany

Jan Marco Leimeister (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000
Switzerland

University of Kassel - Information Systems ( email )

Nora-Platiel 4
Kassel, 34127
Germany

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