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Community space in complex learning communities: lessons learnt

McDonald, D.M. and Weir, G.R.S. (2006) Community space in complex learning communities: lessons learnt. In: IADIS International Conference e-Society 2006, Dublin, Ireland, 2006-07-13 - 2006-07-16.

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Abstract

Highly complex learning communities where diverse participants collaborate to achieve multiple aims through synergy have the potential to be highly creative and productive. However the diversity and multiple aims can also mean the advantages of a community - share understand, trust and direction - are difficult to achieve, resulting in few if any of the aims being realised. We review two case studies, where the learning community is trying to achieve multiple aims, in order to explore how virtual and physical space are employed to support collaborative learning and enhance synergistic potential. The analysis shows that high levels of diversity have influenced these spaces and trends towards differentiation and holistically designed hybrid, virtual and physical, collaboration space. The characteristics of theses cases are sufficiently general to lead us to draw insights for the building of collaborative space in multi-purpose complex learning communities. These are equably applicable to learning communities which share features such as heterogeneity, multiple locations or a mixture of spaces.