Ways To Build An Online Learning Community

How to build an online learning community that supports online learners

Learning, as a whole, has changed significantly in recent memory. With virtual education taking the lead, many people may not think as they used to. The truth is, however, that even though the means have changed, the core of learning remains the same. People continue to thrive in social environments that promote collaboration, discussion, and the exchange of knowledge. In this chapter, we reveal 6 + 1 tips to help you use your advanced online conference tool to build an online learning community that supports learners and boosts engagement.

e-Book Release: Educator's Guide to Overcoming Hybrid Barriers to Learning with the Right Virtual Learning Solution

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Educator’s Guide to Overcoming Hybrid Learning Barriers with the Right Virtual Learning Solution

This ultimate guide for educators is designed to help you overcome common hybrid learning challenges and find the best platform for your organization.

What is an online learning community?

An online learning community is a group of people who have a similar set of learning objectives. It is usually composed of one (or more) instructor (s) and several online learners. Educators as well as learners prefer them because they provide a platform where people can exchange information, discuss relevant issues and seek support. Such communities add value to the learning experience, drive engagement and help learners to acquire and retain knowledge in more effective ways.

But how can you use digital learning solutions to encourage communication and ultimately build a collaborative online learning community? In the next section of the chapter, we share 6 + 1 steps to help you achieve this.

6 + 1 Ways to Build an Online Learning Community

1. Break the ice

The first step in building an online learning community using a web conferencing tool is to break the ice. At the beginning of your online course, create a short video in which you introduce yourself and welcome participants, and encourage them to do the same. In this way, online learners immediately become involved in the learning process and get a first look at the people they will be working with in the future. These introductory videos are also helpful for instructors as they help them identify learners with similar interests so they can group them for collaborative work later.

2. Keep everyone informed

To create a sense of community, you need to give learners reasons to return to the learning platform. One way to do this is to keep everyone informed of relevant news. Send announcements via email, social media or the platform itself to keep everyone informed of events, live conference schedules, project deadlines or upcoming courses. It can also be a great place to share news from the outside world that is relevant to your topic. An active news feed helps everyone keep up with what’s important and feel involved

3. Encourage Questions

In an online learning community, communication is easy between all parties. But the most important thing is that learners should be able to ask questions and have them answered quickly. Compile Q&A podcasts where online learners can enter their questions so you can discuss them during live conferences. It encourages communication and ensures that no question is forgotten. Make sure you make these pods visible to all participants to help more than one learner at a time.

4. Schedule synchronous meetings

It is understandable that people turn to online learning to take advantage of the flexible schedule. However, meeting in real time is essential to building an online learning community. It is a time when learners get to know each other, recognize faces and names and identify common hobbies or interests. Depending on the number of participants, you can either set a time that works for everyone or schedule a few synchronous sessions at different times to accommodate everyone’s schedules.

5. Start Discussions

Online learning communities are created through the ability to express and discuss views on relevant issues. Therefore, you need to help your audience get into debates by using synchronous and asynchronous tools. Synchronous discussions take place via live conference or real-time chat, thus creating a sense of immediate response and promoting rapid problem-solving. Asynchronous discussions have a slower pace, giving participants more time to consider their answers and promote meaningful and evidence-based dialogue. In any case, remember to start topics yourself and take an active part in the debate. In this way, learners will be encouraged to post questions and comments that may stimulate future discussions.

6. Promote group learning

Collaborative learning places a personal note in online courses by bringing learners together and reducing feelings of isolation. When you encourage learners to work together, interaction between them becomes easier and they begin to form relationships. In this way, they feel more motivated to participate, and the overall learning experience becomes more personal. Advanced web conferencing solutions come with many features that promote group learning, the most useful of which are breakaway rooms. Use it to provide participants with a place where they can prepare projects and presentations or attend exercises, simulations, scenarios, etc.

Bonus tip: Use gamification

With all the application integrations and features included with advanced online conferencing tools, playing your online content is no longer too challenging. But how will gamification contribute to building an online learning community? The answer lies in developing conditions of healthy competition. When you gamify your course, you allow learners to earn pins and badges whenever they complete an assignment. You can take it a step further and create a scoreboard for extra motivation. These features can make learning more fun and engaging, while also creating a topic for discussion.


Online learning communities are essential in virtual learning. They help learners to become actively involved in the learning experience and promote knowledge acquisition through group learning. Advanced web conferencing solutions come with many features that facilitate social learning. Follow the tips we shared in this section and make the most of these features to create a collaborative online learning community that adds significant value to your online course.

Download the e-book Educators’ Guide to Overcoming Hybrid Learning Barriers with the right virtual learning solution to break down the roadblocks that stand in the way of hybrid learning success.

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