Diversity, identity and belonging in e-learning communities: Some theories and paradoxes


Journal Article

It is often assumed that online collaborative learning is inclusive of diversity. In this exploratory paper, I challenge this notion by developing a theory which proposes that inclusion occurs through congruence between learners' social identities and the identities implicitly supported through the interactions in a particular community. To build identity congruence, e-learning communities need spaces for both commonality and diversity, and I present three paradoxes which underlie the aims of online learners and teachers to embrace diversity online. I illustrate these with some examples from online learning and teaching. The ability to 'listen' to each other online offers a way forward, and the paper ends with some future possibilities about how we can ensure that e-learning communities benefit from diversity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hughes, G

Published Date

  • October 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 709 - 720

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1470-1294

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1356-2517

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/13562510701596315

Citation Source

  • Scopus