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Instructional-Design Theory to Guide the Creation of Online Learning Communities for Adults

TLRPTIL Volume 53, Number 1, ISSN 8756-3894


The Internet provides a powerful delivery system for learning. With improvements in web-based applications and information technology come new opportunities and challenges for educators to design, develop, and deliver effective instruction. Over the past few years, an increasing amount of research has been devoted to the design of online learning communities that embrace learning as a social and constructive process. As online learning matures, it is important for both theorists and practitioners to understand how to apply new and emerging educational practices and technologies that foster a sense of community and optimize the online learning environment. To accomplish this goal, it is critical that researchers continue testing instructional-design theories and models in different online contexts and either build upon those theories and models or develop new ones that will provide appropriate and relevant guidance. This article proposes an instructional-design theory that supports a sense of community. The theory may also serve as the basis for further development of specific instructional design prescriptions for how to use some of the new and emerging web tools that are available in the Read/Write Web such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and virtual worlds, to create a sense of community among adult learners. This theory originates from formative research conducted to design an online learning community for older adults in non-academic settings. In this article, situations that describe when a particular method works best were added to suggest how this theory might apply to adults enrolled in online graduate programs. (Contains 1 table.)


Snyder, M.M. (2009). Instructional-Design Theory to Guide the Creation of Online Learning Communities for Adults. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 53(1), 48-56. Retrieved February 20, 2020 from .

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