Summary: Virtual Learning Environment and Online Learning Communities Essay

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Participation in Online Learning Communities
Kay Bee
Grand Canyon University: UNV 501
August 27, 2013

Participation in Online Learning Communities The ability to successfully create an online learning community is contingent upon the participants in the learning community and the instructor. Research indicates that being actively engaged in an online learning community shows that there are significant learning gains to be had. The views expressed in this summary on participation in online learning communities is derived from the perspective of the authors of, “Read-only participants: A case for student communication in online classes” (Nagel, Blignaut, and Cronje, 2009). The research questions focused on how successfully completing an online course correlates to learning and if students being actively involved played a vital role (Nagel et al., 2009).
The authors used Master’s students enrolled in a web based eight week course at the University of Pretoria. This course was taught in a blended and online approach. They conducted a study that consisted of 22 students from a wide array of factors ranging in ages from 30-50. The students were given eight topics in which they were expected to research on a weekly basis and were also given group assignments which allowed them to work together (Nagel et al., (2009). Nagel et al., (2009) stated that when students asked questions, it was more beneficial to their learning, than just being given the answer; it helped them gain a better understanding of the topic being presented. The authors also found that frequent and constant responses from the facilitators and fellow classmates and socially interacting with each other caused them to learn the material quicker and better. The students who took a more hands on approach showed quite a significant gain in the grasping of the material, than their counterparts who participated passively. While the students who participated passively still learned the material; they did not