Pedagogical Innovation in New Learning Communities An In-depth Study of Twelve Online Learning Communities

Authors: Stefania Aceto, Claudio Dondi, and Paola Marzotto Editors: Kirsti Ala-Mutka and Anusca Ferrari - JRC (EU-Joint Research Center in Sevilla)

Starting date: June 2008
Duration: 12 months

Client: European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture, Unit Jean Monet, partnerships and relations with agencies (EAC A3)


Objective: The aim of this study is to review and assess the new social and pedagogical approaches to learning that are emerging in new ICT-facilitated learning communities.  In addition to formal education, such communities are increasingly emerging in informal and non-formal lifelong learning environments where learning is happening in a freely organised manner, bring together learners, experts, and other parties.  This study aims to examine these new learning communities in order to find innovative pedagogical and organisational practices that support lifelong learning in different settings and foster innovations in the interaction of teachers, learners and organisations.

Description: Through desk research, in-depth case studies and expert workshops, the study aims to:

    1. Provide an overview and understanding of new learning communities that are characterised as socially and pedagogically innovative and identify what is the innovative dimension;
    2. Provide an overview and analysis of novel learning and teaching approaches and strategies based on active learning approaches in the communities (such as creative problem solving, discovery, learning by doing, experiential learning, critical thinking and creativity);
    3. Investigate the specific role and contribution of ICT in developing and enabling new collaboration models bridging various learning settings (formal, non-formal and informal);
    4. Analyse the relationship between ICT, learning and innovation in view of organisational changes in the delivery of learning;
    5. Propose avenues for further research and policy-making.

Validation workshop

The project organized an expert workshop for consolidating research results and developing new insights. This workshop took place 31.3. – 1.4.2009 at IPTS, Seville. Final agenda of the workshop

Intermediate research results for discussion in the workshop

Report on the literature review and analysis of lifelong learning and online communities (early draft report not available anymore, see below the published report)
Presentation of case studies on learning in online communities

Workshop presentations

Dissemination activities of the project

Related events:

  • Presentation of literature review results in ECTEL-2009 Conferences, September 2009
  • Presentation of intermediate research results in EDEN Annual Conference, June 2009
  • Presentation of intermediate research results in M-2009 Conference, June 2009

Related publications:


Project Leader: Kirsti Ala-Mutka

Theme Leader: Yves Punie, yves.punie(at)



About Raymond Morel (3392 Articles)
Raymond Morel is a member of the Board of Directors at SI and is President of Social-IN3, a cooperative of a researchers’ convinced of the need to address new challenges of today's Information Age, which is slowly and surely modify the entire society.

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