Course:ETEC522/2010ST1/LearningCommunityEnvironments/Vector 2-Leading Solution Providers

From UBC Wiki

Prescribed Learning Outcome

By the end of this vector, ETEC522 participants should be able to:

1.identify leading solution providers of online learning community services

2. compare products and services offered by leading providers of online learning community services

Vector 2: Leading Solution Providers

The basic elements of learning community environments are diversity, a shared culture, internal communication, caring, trust, teamwork, maintenance processes, and governance structures that encourage participation and sharing of leadership tasks, personal and professional development, and links to the outside world (Lenning & Ebbers, 1999)

Virtual Global Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities

A professional learning community (PLC) is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field.

Attributes of Professional Learning Communities

Professional learning communities have the following attributes

  1. supportive and shared leadership,
  2. collective creativity,
  3. shared values and vision,
  4. supportive conditions, and
  5. shared personal practice.

Cisco Learning Network

The Cisco Learning Network is a professional learning community that is focused on the IT industry. The mission of the Cisco Learning Network is to provide learning tools, training resources, and industry guidance, to anyone interested in building an IT career through Cisco Certification.

Commonwealth of Learning

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of more than 50 independent sovereign states, which provide support to each other, and work together toward international goals. The Commonwealth is described as a "family" of nations, originally linked together in the British Empire, and now building on their common heritage in language, culture and education, which enables them to work together in an atmosphere of greater trust and understanding than generally prevails among nations.

Bringing together some 1.7 billion people of many faiths, races, languages, traditions and levels of economic development, the Commonwealth represents almost one-third of the world's population.

Academic Learning Communities

University of Phoenix - Founded as an upstart in 1976, University of Phoenix has become the largest private university in North America. Students access services through than 200 locations, as well as through online programs available in most countries around the world. It is an excellent example of a learning community that transcends national boundaries.

Leading solution providers in Learning Community Environments

British Columbia Online Learning Communities

V2 Learn Now BC.JPG

LearnNowBC.cais a web portal, that was created by the Virtual School Society, as a single point of entry to information about distributed (online) learning in British Columbia for students, parents and educators. It is based on Distributed Learning which is a method of instruction that relies primarily on indirect communication between students and teachers, including internet or other electronic-based delivery, teleconferencing, or correspondence.

British Columbia Online Consortia

Open School BC Logo.gif

Online institutions can be multi-faceted enterprises involved in services, content, and infrastructure. Obviously, the main focus of an online school is to educate through the delivery of quality service. However, to be sustainable, a virtual school must be a leader when it comes to content and the infrastructure being utilized. Such demands can be exceedingly expensive, but there are some valuable consortium resources available in British Columbia, for example, that can greatly reduce operational costs. The first is offered through the Online Consortium operated by OpenSchool BC (OSBC). OSBC is available to all BC public schools and private institutions and charges a base rate of $1,374 per year with a three year minimum to join the Online Consortium. Thereafter, there are a set of laddered fees that vary according to enrolment. Once a school joins the Consortium, it is able to access OSBC's extensive catalogue of courses and utilize content hosting using WebCt or Moodle (Online Consortium Membership, 2010). Advantages of the Consortium are outlined in the following OSBC memo:

"The expenses associated with running fully featured Learning Management Systems includes licensing costs, computer hardware, networking, technical staff, support staff, and management. Our research and input from the field indicates the costs to run a complete system independently would be in excess of $100,000 per year for an average-sized district." (Online Consortium Features, 2010)


A second option exists for content acquisition through the BC Learning Network(BCLN) – a consortium of schools and school districts focused on curriculum development. Benefits of the BC Learning Network are summarized on the organization's website.

By spreading costs, risks, and responsibilities across a network of participating institutions, consortiums such as OpenSchool BC and BCLN make online education a feasible operation in British Columbia.

Leading U.S. Learning Communities


Plato is an innovative educational technology company providing personalized instruction, technology-based teaching tools, and standards-driven assessment and data management to foster continuous academic growth in all areas of the education landscape. PLATO Learning products cover a broad range of teaching and learning needs—from intervention and credit recovery and innovative and teacher-facilitated solutions for traditional classroom instruction to trend-forward distance learning options. PLATO Learning offer solutions for elementary, secondary, and post-secondary customers. Plato provides Internet delivery platforms, diagnostic solutions, instructional solutions and professional services.


"USDLA’s 20,000 global sponsors and members operate in and influence 46% of the $913 billion dollar U.S. Education and Training Market." (USDLA 2010)

The United States Distance Learning Association was the first nonprofit Distance Learning association in the United States. The USDLA was founded on the premise of creating a powerful alliance to meet the burgeoning education and training needs of learning communities via new concepts of the fusion of communication technologies with learning in broad multidiscipline applications. The learning communities that USDLA addresses are: pre K-12, higher education, continuing education, corporate training, military and government training, home schooling and telemedicine. The USDLA focuses on Partnerships. One of its main goals is to serve as a catalyst for the formation of partnerships among education, business, healthcare, and government


IMS Global Learning Consortium. IMS GLC is a non-profit collaboration among the world's leading educational technology suppliers, content providers, educational institutions, school districts, and government organizations dedicated to improving education and learning through the strategic application of technology.

  • Why do organizations join IMS GLC?
    • 1.By being a member, an organization can leverage access to over $10 million U.S. annual investment by the IMS membership in resources that can reduce the cost and risk associated with developing products or adopting new technologies.
    • 2.Membership promotes an organization as an industry leading entity providing affiliation with and access to a unique global collaboration of like-minded leaders. IMS refers to its membership as the "the world’s leaders in learning" and includes such organizations as Adobe, Blackboard, Microsoft, and dozens of universities including the Athabasca University and Harvard Business School.

MERLOT is a free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy. MERLOT has developed a leading edge, user-centered, collection of peer reviewed higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services.


Case Study:

o Between 2007 and 2009, OpenSchool BC spent almost $180,000 developing an online grade 10 Science course for use in British Columbia High schools (Liddy, 2010).
o The design process was carried out by Instructional Designers, Graphic Designers, Programmers, a Project Manager, and a Copyright Officer.
o This Science 10 course included a wide range of original animations, videos, lessons, graphics, diagrams to encourage student engagement with the content

Discussion Questions: (respond to one or more of these in Wordpress, thanks)

    • If you were overseeing the design of an online course or learning community, what elements would you incorporate into the design to maximize learning? Would it be costly to add these elements?
    • Compare and contrast an academic learning community and a professional learning community.

Vector Report Card

Report card 2b.jpg


BC Learning Network. (2010). BCLN Membership Overview. Retreived 14 June 2010 from

Liddy, Eleanor (2010). Director: OpenSchool BC. Personal Interview. 15 July 2010.

OpenSchool BC. (2010). Online Consortium Features. Retrieved 11 June 2010 from

OpenSchool BC. (2010). Online Consortium Membership. Retrieved 11 June 2010 from

Lenning, O. T., & Ebbers, L. H. (1999). The powerful potential of learning communities: Improving education for the future (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report Vol. 26, No. 6). Washington, DC: The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

United States Distance Learning Association. (2010) History and Mission. Retrieved 15 July 2010 from


Return to Vector 1: Leading Learning Applications

Continue to Vector 3: Stability and Usability

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