Two types of learning communities are possible with online distance learning:
- The online learning community is comprised of the student, his or her online classmates and the distance education teacher. The focus of the online learning community is usually course content, exchange of ideas, and participation in shared projects.
- The school learning community is comprised of the student, other students in the school
who are taking online courses and the site facilitator. The focus of the school learning community is online learning skills. Students can learn skills from the site facilitator and from each other. When two or more students are taking the same online course, course content also becomes a focus for the school learning community. Students in the same course can work together, share ideas and help each other.
Students can benefit from active participation in both these learning communities.
Although the site facilitator may take a lead role in facilitating both these learning communities, everyone in the school, educational administrators, teachers and students alike, should be aware of their importance and can contribute to their success.