Tips for Building a Virtual Learning Commons
The Virtual Learning Commons needs the same attention as the physical environment. It is an organized but collaborative space for learning. It is not a replacement for the physical LLC but an extension of it to make the LLC available to students and learners 24/7.
- You may already have a library webpage that points students and teachers to available resources. Redesign your existing webpage just the same as you redesign the physical space to facilitate participatory learning.
- If you do not have a webpage to build on consider using this free VLC template. (Koechlin and Loertscher, 2013).
- Study the VLC environments built by others. There are many examples linked to the growth continuum charts.
- Explore possibilities for building a vibrant virtual learning space. (Ontario Library Association, 2014a)
- Read some professional literature. (Brooks Kirkland, 2009)
- Consider your opening page (Crosland, 2014) and plan to invite students into the VLC with an interesting item such as a video, challenge, or questions to engage interest.
- Invite students and teacher to help you build resource pathfinders and other content.
- Invite students to help build tutorials for using digital learning tools.
- Link the library social networking sites to the front page.
- Design spaces to foster independent reading. Build a reading community.
- Organize links to useful technology tools.
- Develop a space to plan and curate inquiry learning experiences such as virtual knowledge building centers. (Koechlin and Loertscher, 2014)
- Create spaces for play and experimentation.
- Support school cultural events (Bowness virtual learning commons, 2013). Your VLC can be a virtual school yearbook.
- Develop a section of the VLC for teacher professional learning.
- Invite participation!
Adapted from: Koechlin, C., Loertscher, D. and Rosenfeld, E. (2010). Building a learning commons: A guide for school administrators and learning leadership teams. Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research and Publishing.