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Develop a philosophical context

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Last updated by Derek Wenmoth


Explore your shared vision and values in forming a Learning Community Online (LCO).


The reason for establishing an LCO should be grounded in sound educational thinking. It should have as its goal improved learning outcomes focusing on improving the learning experience and opportunities for the students involved. A statement that reflects this philosophical context should be developed and shared among potential cluster participants as part of the ‘buy-in’ process, so that there is a clear, shared understanding that underpins the establishment of the LCO. Consider the following as you develop this statement:

  • What are your shared beliefs about teaching and learning, including:
    -    effective pedagogical approaches
    -    teacher/learner roles
    -    assessment strategies.
  • How are these beliefs affected when considering:
    -    education at a distance
    -    providers ‘untested’ by your school or student body.
  • What is the primary purpose for establishing this LCO, for example:
    -    access to curriculum for senior students
    -    participation in global learning projects
    -    provision of specialist teaching input
    -    access to ongoing professional development.


Collaboratively develop a shared statement of the purpose and philosophical understandings for your LCO.
Consider the following questions with your potential community members:

  • How do you see an LCO model benefitting your school, staff and students?
  • What are the advantages of sharing staff expertise, resources, roles etc over a wider campus than just one school?
  • What are barriers to achieving this?
  • Is there currently ‘competition’ between any of the schools that may raise issues?
  • Is your proposal based primarily on meeting the needs of students, or is it opportunistic in terms of the availability of the technology, staffing? (ie. What is really driving this proposal?).
  • What do you see as possible benefits to staff from the establishment of this LCO? (eg. virtual staffrooms, staff support networks, professional development opportunities, resource sharing and moderation, team teaching opportunities, access to expertise and ‘outside the classroom’ experiences to enhance classroom programmes, increased skill/capability, shared intranets and/or infrastructure etc).
  • How might the establishment of an LCO infrastructure be used to benefit groups throughout your wider community? (eg. iwi, farmer/interest groups, medical centres, local industry groups, early and continuing education centres including libraries, councils and administrative bodies, tertiary providers etc).
  • What are the opportunities for LCO relationships to be used to foster learning opportunities for learners at all levels of the school? (e.g. early childhood/junior classes, adult education programmes, staff professional development and higher education, careers / life education / vocational and Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) programmes).

Supporting Resources

The Importance of Vision: An Example from OtagoNet

In this digital story the ePrincipal of OtagoNet the describes the importance of vision to a beginning or struggling cluster.

Ken Pullar - ePrincipal, OtagoNet

Notice how Ken outlines how once a cluster has a mutual understanding of its mission, it becomes easier for the leadership of that cluster to communicate what the cluster is about and ensure that the members schools are all moving in the same direction.