Virtual Communities of Practice in Web-Based Second Language Learning: Fiction or Reality?

Dr. Karen Bjerg Petersen


The work of Lave and Wenger on learning in
'communities of practice' has evoked a considerable
response in e-learning environments through-out the
world including Denmark in the last few decades. Within
the development of web-based second language learning,
the ideas of learning in communities of practice and of
situated and collaborative learning have deeply inspired
educators and teachers and, to a certain degree, become
the theoretical and practical framework for developing
web-based learning platforms, while findings from this
research indicate that students perceive e-learning as a
far more individual process. The aim of this paper is to
investigate aspects of the Danish development of elearning
platforms and, especially students’ and teachers’
very differing perceptions of e-learning and the concepts
behind it. The analysis is based on student and teacher
interviews, research on language interaction and case
studies of e-learning language platforms within the area
of teaching Danish as a second language for adult
foreigners. The concepts of communities of practice are
also discussed and developed.


Communities of practice. E-learning in communities of practice. Second language learning. Cognitive approaches in e-learning. Learner centred approaches.

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