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Relationships & Communication

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Last updated by Derek Wenmoth


Identify key stakeholders and leadership group, establish communication networks, and confirm shared vision and principles.


A Learning Community Online (LCO) is based on a shared vision where schools see a common solution through working cooperatively. A shared vision and guiding principles provide the structure and support that is needed when developing goals and working through any subsequent issues. It is essential that strong working relationships be established at the outset. It is vital that all school principals are totally committed to the process, working closely with the LCO leadership group, and actively supporting the goals of the LCO within their own schools. Without this commitment from principals then successful outcomes will be limited, as borne out in cluster research.


Identify a leadership group of highly committed individuals, including principals who will drive the development of the LCO. Innovative leaders within a school should be identified as part of this group as this is not necessarily the domain of a lead ICT teacher. Aim for a balance of school leadership, innovative teachers, elearning experience and representation from across the schools. This group could also include representation of key stakeholders. Bear in mind the need for this group to be reasonably small to be effective and agile.

Identify potential stakeholders:

  • Teaching and learning: students, teachers, parents, whanau, the community.
  • Education support: other cluster representatives, Virtual Learning Network community, other local schools and education institutions including early childhood, Ministry of Education, tertiary organisations and private training establishments.
  • Financial: BOTs, principals, community trusts, sponsors, Ministry of Education, service clubs, community groups.

Establish communication between members of leadership group, schools, and stakeholders. Agree on meeting schedules well in advance, where possible making use of existing meetings. Meetings can be a variety of face to face, audio, video or web conferencing as the needs of the group determine. Establish email lists for communication and develop a shared online space for asynchronous discussion, online collaboration and sharing of documents.

Supporting Resources

Developing a Common Vision: An Example from WeLCom

In this digital story the ePrincipal of the Wairarapa eLearning Community (WeLCom) the describes the background and vision of the cluster, along with process the cluster took to ensure that its members had a common vision.

Anton Coltham - ePrincipal, WeLCom

Notice how Anton describes the specific communications networks that the WeLCom cluster uses to ensure its vision and principles are communicated to and discussed among its member schools.