Digital Learning Communities
The Ideal Components
What Does an Ideal DLC Look Like?
The truly ideal DLC strives to achieve that very balance of being both beneficial and challenging to the newbie and the veteran, respectively. The noob doesn't want to feel like a fish out of water, but the vet doesn't want to waste his/her time either. It is a delicate balance to find and maintain—truly an organic process unlike a static website.
In reaching this ideal balance, I find Khan Academy a site which works to be accessible to users on many levels. The depth and breadth of the world of Khan is quite astounding. Some courses are meant to aid those who might be supplementing GED preparation while others could rival any Ph.D. level course. In this way, users at many levels can access and interact to their degree of need or desire.
One potential Khan citizen might want skills or study in one area, while another user may dig into multiple areas. This does not reflect that the site or the user is deficient, on contrast, both users glean what s/he deems necessary. There is no judgement in "only" accessing one unit as there are no "bonuses" issued to the superuser. Both individuals are free to interact as s/he individually decides without shame or gloat required.
A truly enlightened DLC should have the goal of desire of the individual being the sole qualifier. Technological hurdles should be minimized while educational benefit should be maximized. In the growing online vastness, the true hurdle to being all that the community strives to be is honestly visibility and sheer knowledge of existence. To minimize the technology barriers, the community has to use targeted marketing to the audiences who would most benefit. I have seen excellent Facebook ads doing just that, but Facebook is a self-selecting group. The marketing team has a great job for entities such as Wikiversity, Khan, and iTunesU.