Creating a Culture of Digital Collaboration in Online Learning

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Originally Published In

In L. Moller & J. Huett (Eds.), The Next Generation of Distance Education

Page Numbers



Learners in the twenty-first century are engaged in personal learning networks (PLNs) inside and outside of the classroom walls, often in spite of the involvement of instructors. A disconnect exists between how they use technology outside of school and how they are being educated in most schools. Learners embrace the connections they make with their peers and with strangers through technology and ask to use these connections for learning. Technology is an integral and ubiquitous part of their lives where they engage in exchanges with their peers through technological means creating meaningful social and learning experiences (Rogers and Price 2007). If students have questions, they instantly pull out their smart phones to find answers. Having instant access to information creates a different milieu and increased expectations for learning. Students in K12 and university environments are able to take charge of their own learning in ways not possible before the evolution of learning to an “anytime anywhere” approach to living and learning. Technology enables learners to access knowledge beyond the scope of instructors or textbooks.