Online Learning Communities

This week, our reading by Riel and Polin (2004), focus on Online Learning Communities and discusses the various types of learning communities and the community dimensions associated with it.  To summarise it briefly, I have created this image to explain:

In my opinion, our little group of NGL members are a task-based community of learning, as we’re all working towards a common goal – which is to complete another unit towards our degrees. However, Riel and Polin (2004) defines the membership as one where members knows each other, and since we’re all online students, we actually don’t personally know each other – more a case of we know about each other. So, while our group within NGL fit the description for task-based, we also fit the description for practice-based, in that we don’t know each other personally but we are all seeking to become more experienced within our chosen professions. My fellow NGL group member Samanthi, place our group somewhere within a Practice-based and Knowledge-based community, as she views our connection to be strongly linked to our professions.

For my learning activity, I have chosen to learn more about Second Life, as I have mentioned in my previous post. Second Life is a 3D virtual world that are already been utilised by various organisations for online collaboration, networking and training spaces.  As a librarian, I am curious as to how Second Life can be used to promote digital collections, and upon researching, I have found that various libraries already exist within Second Life.

As we are looking at CLEM (community, literature, examples, models) this week, I conclude that learning more about Second Life and 3D virtual learning spaces fit this description I have created:


C: I have found a Google+ community (Seanchai Libraries) and an education Wiki that has been created to support people learning/working with Second Life.

L: The blogs is more extensions of the wiki page but several excellent peer-reviewed journal articles have been written, which I will reference in my posts dedicated to my learning journey about Second Life.

E: Various videos have been created in YouTube about Second Life, and even full lectures have been recorded in virtual class rooms. has several articles and videos created by educators about Second Life, and how they use it in their practise.

M: Forums about the use of Second Life in education are useful for finding ideas and how these ideas have been organised before putting it live in Second Life. Technically, I won’t venture as far as learning to code within Second Life but I am interested to know in what language was used to create the world. Linden Scripting Language was created by Linden Labs (creators of Second Life) and it is largely based on Java and C. (Samanthi is learning to code for her activity, and she might be interested in the coding side of things if she was to investigate Second Life). The coding templates for Second Life is mainly tutorials in the Second Life wiki, and some videos are also embedded within the wiki.


Riel, M., and Polin, L (2004). Learning Communities: Common Ground and Critical Differences in Designing Technical Support. In S. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.). Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.