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News Finding Community Support in Online Learning

The COVID-19 outbreak has meant that most learning has had to move online forcing students and professionals to learn remotely.

Although remote learning offers many advantages, one of the biggest challenges faced by online learners is the comparative lack of interaction and community support that tends to happen organically in a physical setting. Community is important in learning, as knowledge is more likely to be retained when learners work and interact with peers, ask questions and gain feedback. So, how can this be achieved in an online environment?

The best place to start is with the institution conducting your online course or the platform that is delivering it. Look for any dedicated course forums or Slack channels where students can post questions or ask for advice. However, if these are not available, or you feel they are not offering the right support, you may need to look elsewhere to find the support you need.

Being an active participant in a study group can help you network with other learners or professionals in your field as well as share content. For those studying programming and IT development skills, there are numerous online support communities, such as Stack Overflow and GitHub. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most other subject areas, and students will need to search for relevant online groups or create their own for study and interaction.

Below is a list of platforms where you can join or create groups to help with your online learning:

Facebook Groups are spaces for users with common interests to share insights and information. Any user can create and manage multiple Facebook groups, or you can join other existing groups.

Discord is a voice, video and text communication service where users can talk with their friends and communities. Although the platform was originally dedicated to gamers, it is used by everyone from local hiking clubs, to art communities, to study groups.

LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.

Slack is a team based instant messaging system for both group chat and direct messaging. You can use Slack with a limited number of features for free.

Microsoft Teams is primarily geared towards businesses, but there's no reason it can't be used to create a study group. The free version includes unlimited chat, video calling, file sharing, storage, and more.

And last, but not least, our very own MoocLab Study Buddy is a free resource that connects learners with compatible online study partners based on their interests and preferences. Users can chat in one-to-one messages as well as create or join study groups.


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