Learning to Learn Online

“learning involves very much more than undertaking activity on a computer” (Salmon p.31)

Online learning has become a ‘way of the world’. No longer is a student required to be in a classroom with peers, an educator, pen and paper, and scheduled learning times.

As an adult returning to study whilst juggling family, work and life commitments this concept appealed; despite my lack of technology prowess, and my love of face-to-face interactions. I had a preconceived idea of what learning online would look like…boy was I wrong! Very quickly I was challenged way beyond my comfort zone.

Thankfully I was introduced to Salmon’s (2011) 5 stage Model of online learning, giving me vision as to the reality of my new learning space.


12 months later my movement between stages is clear. It is fluid, not always sequential, occasionally backwards, but with increased confidence and experience; influenced greatly by supportive facilitation of a clear, scaffolded environment, as well as the collaboration and support of fellow learners – a Community of Practice (Smith, 2009).

“Learning is in the relationships between people.” (Smith, 2009).

“Learning does not belong to individual persons, but the various conversations of which they are a part.”

Embracing the “process of collective learning” (Wenger, 2007), and immersing oneself into conversations based on common interests – sharing knowledge and information, asking questions, seeking solutions – is paramount to the success of online learning.

“Remember the human”

I once heard a school principal tell his students…”if you wouldn’t want your Nanna to read it, then don’t write it”. Whilst I chuckled to myself his point highlighted the importance of online Netiquette. As with any domain it is essential to have guidelines and boundaries in place to ensure an effective and supportive environment.

These are my insights….my learning…..enjoy yours!  



Salmon, G. (2011). E-moderating: The key to Teaching and Learning Online (3rd ed.) (pp. 31-59). London: Routledge.

Smith, M. (2003/2009). Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/jean-lave-etienne-wenger-and-communities-of-practice/.

Teaching Online. (2014). Course netiquette and guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.epigeum.com



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