Pathways and Potholes on the Road to the Learning Community


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Accepting the concept of a Learning Community requires more than a nodding recognition. Rather, it challenges faculty to admit that true learning only takes place when an environment of mutual inquiry takes place in both a real and virtual classroom. A Learning Community in a University environment challenges traditional notions of communication with “learners” rather than “students,” as it recognizes that everyone (including faculty) is a learner in a collegiate educational experience. A true Learning Community is characterized by high levels of performance and collective joy in mutual achievement. It rewards exemplary accomplishment of course objectives.

A Learning Community does not punitively recognize failure, but values accomplishment. Getting to that state of understanding requires the rejection of traditional notions of syllabus design, outside learning products (a.k.a. “assignments”) and learner evaluation. Achieving the proper environment for a Learning Community requires an unwavering buy-in from all levels of University administration and faculty leadership. While difficult to build, it leaves a lasting impression upon those who desire to learn more!

John C. Lewis, Ed.D.

Dr. Lewis teaches several classes in research methods, management, educational methodology and critical thinking. His professional interests include health care management, instructional strategy, adjunct faculty management, online education, development of the adult learner and the promotion of excellence in university instruction.



1. Identify characteristics of a true Learning Community.

2. Define and be able to apply methods of creating the Learning Community philosophy and environment.

3. Be prepared to defend the strengths of this changing model of educational delivery and application.

Presentation: 50 minutes

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