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Pedagogical innovation in new learning communities: An in-depth study of twelve online learning communities

The aim of this study written by Stefania Aceto, Claudio Dondi, and Paola Marzotto is to review and assess the new social and pedagogical approaches to learning that are emerging in new ICT-facilitated collaborative learning settings.

In addition to formal education, such communities are increasingly emerging in informal and non-formal lifelong learning environments where learning is happening in a freely organised manner, bringing together learners, experts, and other parties. This study aims to examine these new learning communities in order to find innovative pedagogical and organisational practices that support lifelong learning in different settings and foster innovations in the interaction of teachers, learners and organisations.

The methodological framework for the LearnCom project includes desk research on the existing literature about learning communities; the present in-depth case study of 12 different types of learning communities; a validation workshop in which 20 external experts discussed and provided further input to the research; and a final report.

This report presents the results of the in-depth study of 12 online learning communities. The case analysis examines features, impacts and outcomes of learning in ICT-facilitated learning communities, as well as factors for failure and success, highlighting what lessons can be learnt from online learning communities that could benefit education and training systems.