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Networked Learning Communities

Networked Learning Communities Project Description

The Networked Learning Communities (NLC) initiative was launched by the National College for School Leadership in September 2002, and Ultralab acted as consultants to promote the use of online communities. They had originally been established by NCSL in tight geographical areas to allow face to face meetings. Their objective was to support action research projects and encourage collaboration between schools and other bodies to raise standards in teaching and learning.

Ultralab had piloted local working groups of headteachers online. These too were usually in a tight geographic location but their online nature allowed them to readily include others. The online and asynchronous nature of local working groups had reduced the number of telephone, fax and even email contacts in favour of the online community. Face to face meetings were still needed but the introduction of online community enabled them to be less frequent, more focussed and time efficient.

While the pilot online NLC communities were supported by Ultranauts, a programme was tailored for NLC staff introducing the art of online facilitation through online workshops. The workshops established a core of trained people aware of the possibilities of community software and keen to pursue developments.

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