Benefits and Barriers of an Online Learning Community

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“…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:5

Coffee Break and Bible Study ministries leaders share a passion for inviting others to meet Jesus through his Word. Like living stones, we are gathered together by God to build one another up, to share strengthen one another, and learn from one another. We are a Learning Community of leaders.

What is a learning community? It is a committed group of people, with similar roles, who are learning from and with each other by sharing best practices, new ideas and discoveries.

What are the benefits of learning communities?

  • Leaders have direct access to information, ideas and best practices. Ex: One leader in the Fremont Coffee Break uses large, topographical maps of Israel with her group in order to learn more about the context and geography of a passage. She also shared information on how to purchase the maps.  
  • The community of leaders can identify patterns and movements of the Holy Spirit. Ex: Several leaders have shared stories about using Coffee Break as a tool for teaching English as a Second Language. Others hope to reach out to new neighbors with upcoming materials in Spanish, Chinese and Swahili.  
  • Leaders are encouraged by stories and shared learning. Ex: A Coffee Break group in Wisconsin heard about efforts to grow Coffee Break in India. They raised money to support translation efforts and began to pray for the leaders in India.

What other benefits do you experience? 

What are the barriers to learning in community?

  • Leaders do not think their contribution is significant or important. Ex: Groups try all sorts of creative and innovative things but often downplay their efforts because they seem small or insignificant. In a recent post, a group in Platte, SD told how they started a group like Coffee Break in a nursing home called, “Tender Loving Care.” That small experiment caught the imagination and heart of many readers.
  • Leaders wonder if their new idea fits within the model or if they are breaking the rules. Ex: Some groups report that they use a different name, other than “Coffee Break”, to connect better with their communities or context. One group calls themselves “People’s Coffee Hour” and another "Life Cafe." In other parts of the world they use the name “Tea Break.” Your ministry adaptations may spark creative, out-of-the box, and missional ideas in other groups. This is a permission giving learning community!
  • Technology. The Coffee Break Ministry/Bible Discovery learning community connects primarily using online tools like the Coffee Break eNewsletter, Coffee Break Groups Facebook and the Coffee Break Network site. For some, these tools are new and intimidating.

What other barriers do you experience to learning in community?

Like living stones, let’s learn together.

Let’s take a small step together! Engage the learning community in one of the following ways:

  • Comment on this post! Scroll down to the bottom of this page and place an answer to one of the questions above. What are the benefits or barriers to an online learning community? (If you don't have an account, create one here or sign in using Facebook or email). 
  • Link your Coffee Break’s Facebook page to the Coffee Break Groups page. Copy the URL (link) from your group’s Facebook page and send it to info@coffeebreakministries.org. We will “like” your group.
  • Share a new idea or best practice that your group has discovered. Post the idea in the Coffee Break section on The Network. Simply click “Start a new post” and begin typing! Or, email your idea to info@coffeebreakministries.org and we will post it for you.

Also, be sure to visit the Coffee Break Website or Coffee Break Groups Facebook page.

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Let's Discuss…

We love your comments! Thanks for your help upholding the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

 

    Learning on-line together can take shape in many forms . This article was mostly geared to coffee Break, but in our church we are encouraging people to participate in the  Fellowhip 1 program  and also" In Fellowship."

   Especially participation in this program for older people it seems to be a threat e.g. loosing identity. There is another aspect....

. Many seniors (if they do have a computer)  are not familiar how to use certain products.,and terms, all they want is being able to e-mail their relatives

  That's why I would be a promoter to take a few young people and assign them to a few seniors not only to show and do it for them, but to genuinely show interest by encouraging them and teaching them !

The senior can make a cup of tea and listen to the interest of the student/teacher and vice versa theecipient can grow from the wisdom of the elderly and lavish them  them with a visit in their often lonely  existence!

 

A win/win situation!

 

Penny Tolsma,

Member of Fleetwood CRC

Guide

Great idea! 

Another church paired younger people with seniors to write their stories. Each month they discussed a different decade. Someone researched the big events, politics and music of the decade to prime the pump. After the short presentation the senior answered some interview questions. They ended with an event where the stories were presented to families. 

Keep the ideas coming!

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