Value of Relationships in Online Learning

Relationships create dynamic touchpoints of just-in-time opportunities for learning. Social networking and other interactive environments have proven their potential to move web learning from an information dump to an interactive experience. The best online learning ventures understand this. In the world of children’s ministry we can look at the premiere websites to see cases in point: Kidology.org, cmuo.com, cmconnect.org, and so on.

I spent nine years helping out in an online venture which focused on building community for believers and reaching out to non-believers. It was a relational enterprise at its core. Information may have provided introductions between people, but the relationships they developed created user loyalty to the website. Over a month ago, after much prayer, I stepped out of that ministry completely in order to focus my attention elsewhere. Yet, many of the friendships I began in that environment continue after I have left.

The moral of this post for administrators of community-based websites? Make sure that relationships are your business. Content, products, services and features are all important, but it is the cross-pollenization of networked relationships which will provide the glue which propels the best websites (not necessarily the biggest or wealthiest, but the best) forward in this very competitive low-margin environment.

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