Online Learning Communities in K-12 Settings

  • Seng Chee TanEmail author
  • Alwyn Vwen Yen Lee
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This review is a major update of the chapter on online learning communities in K-12 settings in the first edition of this handbook. This chapter clarifies the concept and boundary of online learning communities, identifies major trends of research, and suggests pertinent issues for future research. Four established online learning communities, which have sustained for more than a decade and are supported by research, are reviewed on their changes and evolutions over the last decade. They include Knowledge Building Communities, Quest Atlantis, Virtual Math Team, and Web-Based Inquiry Science Environment. The success of the intended design principles and characteristics of these learning environments are evaluated along the cognitive, social, and technological dimensions. Two emergent online learning community platforms, Canvas K-12 and Brightspace, are also reviewed. These platforms make use of emerging technologies such as social and interactive networking, which are new trends that online learning communities are gravitating toward. Potential issues surrounding K-12 online learning communities are discussed. These issues include infrastructure, culture and practices of school teaching and learning, development and assessment process of authentic knowledge, usage and ethics of learning analytics, and possibilities and impact on education due to advances in technologies.


Online learning communities K-12 Cognitive dimension Social dimension Technological dimension 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research and Development in LearningNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Section editors and affiliations

  • Roumen Nikolov
    • 1
  • Kwok-Wing Lai
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Library Studies and Information TechnologiesSofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.University of Otago College of EducationDunedinNew Zealand

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