Creating virtual communities of practice for learning technology in higher education: issues, challenges and experiences
The need for a Web portal to support the rapidly growing field of learning technology has been well established through a number of national surveys and scoping studies over recent years. The overarching vision has been the provision of a virtual environment to assist in informing and developing professional practice in the use of learning technologies. This paper outlines the issues and challenges in creating such a portal through the experiences of developing the RESULTs Network. In the paper, design and participation issues are considered within the wider context of online and networked approaches to supporting practice and professional development. User participation methodologies and technical developments for RESULTs are described in relation to a review of existing representations of practice and a comprehensive survey amongst the learning technology users' community. An outline of key achievements and experiences is presented, followed by some conclusions regarding the cultural and political issues in creating a viable and sustainable facility and suggestions for possible future direction in national provision.