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ERIC Number: EJ807836
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0830-0445
Informal Learning in an Online Community of Practice
Gray, Bette
Journal of Distance Education, v19 n1 p20-35 2004
What role can online communities play in meeting the informal learning needs of a professional association? This article presents the results of an interpretive study of the experiences of coordinators of Alberta Community Adult Learning Councils who participated in an online community of practice designed to support informal workplace learning. Through active participation and peripheral "lurking," newcomers were oriented into the skills and culture of the practice, and experienced practitioners gained new insights into their own professional identities and the meaning of their work. Telling their stories helped to develop not only identity as individual practitioners, but also served to reconstruct the identity of the collective community on an ongoing basis. Motivations to participate included an opportunity to learn new skills and work practices, a means of social and professional connection to colleagues, and a mechanism to reduce the isolation that was inherent in the job function and geographical location. The role of the online moderator was identified as critical in sustaining the online community over an extended period and enhancing the learning function.
Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE). 260 Dalhousie Street Suite 204, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E4, Canada. Tel: 613-241-0018; Fax: 613-241-0019; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada