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The Introduction of a Double-Layered Community of Practice Model: A New Conceptualisation of Online Learning

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review

Publication date1/08/2019
Host publicationE-Proceedings of International Conference on Distance Learning: Research and Innovation for a Digital Society
Place of PublicationNonthaburi, Thailand
PublisherSukhothai Thammathirat Open University
Number of pages8
ISBN (electronic)9786161619534
ISBN (print)9786161619534
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The authenticity is a required condition for learning. However, the design of an authentic online learning environment, which is ultimately separate from learners’ real-life environments, is inevitably challenging. This presentation will propose an alternative way of conceptualising online learning and its boundaries, based on a double-layered Community of Practice model as a means to facilitate constructivist online learning. The model conceptualises online learning as interlinked processes of participation and socialisation in multiple communities across online- and offline-“layers” of learners’ everyday lives. The model guides online course designers in expanding the perceived boundaries of the course environments they design to include learners’ offline learning contexts and local living conditions. Instead of having an exclusive focus on providing learners with constructivist learning opportunities within a non-authentic course environment, the model suggests helping learners to engage in more personalised social learning activities situated in their everyday lives. The presentation will draw on a large set of qualitative data collected from a series of case studies that have examined adult students’ distance learning experiences in different kinds of online courses. In doing so, the presentation will effectively demonstrate how difficult it is to develop a strong CoP nested and sustained within online learning environments, which usually have a close finish. The author will further argue that it may be useful for instructional designers to expend their view on learning environment to include distance learners’ life situations beyond their computer screens. Everyone has their own community in which they naturally learn, develop, and live with other members outside the courses. Thus, rather than putting so much effort to form a community inside online learning environment, we may want to think about more effectively support students to form a stronger and more sustainable community in their lives through being engaged in learning activities in our course.