ON DISCOVERING AND PROFITING FROM THE SENSE OF BELONGING LITERATURE
Keywords:sense of belonging, online learning,
A sense of belonging (SoB) is a recognised and valued concept in
education, associated with increased student attainment,
improved learnersâ€™ satisfaction and lowered attrition rates.
Some scholars even assert that learners are unable to fulfil the
goals of higher education without first having acquired a SoB. I
am suggesting that a SoB should be generated purposefully in
any online learning environment, to address learnersâ€™ welldocumented
feelings of isolation, marginalisation, alienation
and loneliness. I explore a definition of this concept and then
summarise what I have found in the work of researchers who
consider it important that their learners develop a sense of
belonging. Thereafter, I outline the principal features which
contribute to a learnerâ€™s sense of belonging, and what is known
of how they are promoted (or frustrated) by institution, course
teams or individual tutors. Finally, I indicate the immediate
priorities for teachers like myself who wish to promote and
evaluate a sense of belonging for their learners in their own
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