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How to use this handbook

  • Public
Last updated by Glen


Who is it for?

This handbook is intended for use by school leaders and anyone else with an interest in, or responsibility for, the development of a Learning Community Online, including:

  • principals
  • Boards of Trustees
  • senior staff with responsibility for LCO development
  • teachers interested in participating in an LCO
  • existing LCOs for reflection and development
  • tertiary providers or Private Training Establishments.

How to use it?

The focal point for this handbook is the matrix diagram on page 15. This matrix provides a big picture view of the phases of LCO development and is intended to guide you through the specific things you should consider.

Down the left hand side of the matrix are the 10 dimensions, each of which needs to be considered carefully. Early experience revealed that some clusters put a lot of energy into thinking about the technology required, for instance, but neglected to focus on the needs of staff and professional development required. Maintaining a focus on all 10 dimensions is important in order to achieve a situation that is mature and sustainable (phase 5).

Across the top of the matrix are the five phases of development:

1 – Proposal

2 – Scoping

3 – Planning

4 – Implementation

5 – Maturity-sustainability

At the bottom of each column is a specific goal or action to be taken that marks the successful conclusion of that phase. These actions should be completed before moving onto the next stage. Although this implies a rather linear use of the handbook (which will be helpful for those starting out on the process), the matrix does provide an opportunity to look at specific areas as required at various stages along the journey.

At the intersection point of each of the dimensions and phase is a summary of the key focus of activity to be completed in this area. This links to information found on the following pages in the handbook, each of which is colour coded and sequenced for ease of use. These pages contain the overview of what should be done, list specific actions to be considered and the outcome you should be seeking to achieve. Each page also contains reference to resources that may help. These can be found by visiting the online environment associated with this handbook (see below).

A living document

The guidance provided in this handbook has been assembled and contributed by the community of people who have been actively engaged in teaching and learning in the online environment as a part of an LCO for some years now.

The advice is practical and links to examples and resources that stem from practice.

The intent is for this handbook to be a ‘living’ document. This is achieved in two ways:

1.    The print version of the handbook is designed to be assembled in a folder that can be added to, with space on each of the pages for user notes and comments so that it becomes a living document in the context of the local school where it is being used.

2.    The handbook is also available online, and is created in an environment where members of the user community can contribute to the resources and ideas that support its use in schools.

You are encouraged to become a part of the LCO handbook community by linking to /lcohandbook and creating an account. Your contributions will ensure that the advice and guidance provided is kept fresh and relevant to the wide community of practitioners in the Virtual Learning Network.