The Communities

Research methods

This survey analyses existing continuing education projects with integrated online communities. Goals of this study are to find out about objective targets, activities and experiences with e-learning. A central concern is also to assess the importance of online communities within the learning process in established learning programs (see Unic01).
The target group for these studies are commercial and non-commercial offers on the internet. We tried to find and to include as many as possible. The biggest and most productive ones are listed below and further analysed. The means of analysis are searching for information on their internet presentation, contacting people in charge via email, sending them questionnaires and interviews by phone.

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Short presentation

The Communities

Logo Name Strategy

AKAD - Hochschule für Berufstätige

The AKAD Wissenschaftliche Hochschule Lahr (WHL) is one of the few private universities with officially recognized certificates in Germany. There are smaller subsidiaries all over Germany. At the moment, they offer two study courses on university level, "Diplom-Kaufmann" and "Diplom-Wirtschaftspädagoge". The teaching concept is based on distance learning, a combination of learning at home, attending in classes and using the Internet. Integrated in this concept is the Virtual University, the so called "teaching room". This is where the students meet in a virtual environment, where they ask questions or answer to them, where they look for further information or for help given by tutors.

"Wissenmanagement" is a magazine specialized on knowledge management with a newsgroup performance on the internet. The three important topics are human resources, organization and technological infrastructure. Experts from science and practice are involved in this project. Their part is to provide an insight into practice and present advances in technology and general tendencies in business. Their offer is used as a platform for topic related exchange of information and is free to everyone.

Competence Site

Competence Site is a virtual information center, where experts from practice consult members/ users in topics related to management, IT and law. Users send in their requests,  those are openly answered and posted in the forums. Competence Site also provides data bases, the so called knowledge pool, where information can be recalled in a sort of archive. Users themselves interact among each other and exchange information. This platform is also used to develop business connections. is a non-profit project which provides a private platform for all interested in controlling. The forums are well-assorted by subject matters. Users can join in at any time and discuss topics in the community. They have the possibility to register a newsgroup related to their specific controlling field. Students and pupils can ask their particular questions in an extra forum arranged for them exclusively. calls itself a trainer forum. It is specialised on the needs of teachers/trainers who instruct students in the so called Vocational Training System - combining training in two places, the enterprise and a vocational school. The forum is divided into various functional areas; learning units are offered to support the learning process in terms of content and methodologies as well as information areas with newest developments in vocational training. The personalised communication platform with individual homepage for each user plays an important role in the concept of It allows issue-related research and exchange of experience.

Basically, offers IT-related online workshops and courses. The teaching concept consists of distance learning via internet (download of learning material, homework) combined with tutoring by phone or email. Supplementary, students use discussion forums in order to receive a feedback by others and the solution to their homework. 

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The Communities



Sabrina M. Steinfels 2002-08-15