Designing online learning communities: lessons from Ekşisözlük

Lack of student participation and intrinsic motivation in online learning environments is a challenge to instructional design. There are some online communities which overcome this challenge by attracting participants from diverse backgrounds to engage, learn, and share information within their context.
Ekşisözlük, an online collaborative dictionary, is one of these communities. In this study we inquire for the unique characteristics of Ekşisözlük that can be applied to online learning environments to increase student motivation and participation. Study data were collected through online surveys and one-to-one interviews.
Study findings show that the unique characteristics of Ekşisözlük include a community history, individual identities evolved through participation, an effective search facility, and representation of multiple perspectives. In the implications for practice section, we discuss the identified characteristics and address some strategies to implement them in learning environments.

Article originally published in ‘EURODL European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning’, October 5, 2009. Reprinted with permission.

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