A Comparison of Formal and Non-Formal Virtual Learning Communities

R.A. Schwier, D. Morrison, and B. Daniel (Canada)


Web-based education, community, non-formal learning


This paper explores the pedagogical implications of the catalysts, elements & emphases model of formal virtual learning communities [1] for non-formal learning contexts, drawing on findings from a four-year program of research on virtual learning communities in formal learning environments. The paper compares how learners in formal and non-formal learning environments can make use of virtual learning communities. Ultimately, we argue that there is a need to extend basic theory on formal virtual learning communities (VLCs) to elaborate our understanding of learning and pedagogical practices in non-formal online learning environments.

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