5 principles for effective learning communities

Principles of learning communities

When starting or building a community here are 5 guiding principles that helped us get started.

Barriers to entry A community is given form and shape by it's boundaries. By defining any kind barrier to entry (however small) you define the edges of the community and give it a sense of identity, seperating it from what it is not.

Leveling up To engage people and encourage them to progress and build their role in the community you need to create ways to 'level up' - this can be achieved by earning badges or new roles within the community. eg: learners could 'graduate' to teachers or organisors.

Flow A community is dynamic, it changes as people come and go. To maintain a sense of life, a community needs a clear way for people to disengage and drop away. Content needs to be kept current and to change along the way.

Rules and boundaries Structure helps to give a community form. Simple rules for learners and teachers allow people to consciously opt in (or out) or a learning community. This could be something like a set class structure that is repeated over and over again so everyone in the community knows what they will be getting when they show up.

Leverage Members of the community need to feel like there is something special, or gained or useful to them for being involved. What can they leverage by being part of the community? Does their social standing increase? Do they have access to new opportunities? Can they grow in some way?

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