Continuous or lifelong learning is critical to the success of individuals, businesses and the economy but will only happen if it is supported by a ‘culture of ongoing development’. A  ‘culture of ongoing development’ occurs when practices and systems are put into place which enables the ongoing or continuous development of individuals to support a common cause or to achieve a common goal.  The previous post explained why we need to create cultures of ongoing development. This post provides some insight into what’s required to support a culture of ongoing development.

There is a growing expectation that we will work more cooperatively and collaboratively in an ever-increasing complex and global world (White, 2012).  It is also recognised that this can be achieved through collaborative or professional learning communities (Stewart, ND).   There are five conditions required in creating a collaborative (professional) learning community (Johnson, 1998; London, 1995; Moriarty, 2004; Stewart, ND):

  • Collectively deciding upon a common goal(s) and clear directions for the group eg wanting to solve a particular problem or achieve similar learning goals or monthly targets etc – this creates a positive interdependence and a group identity, and allows for joint rewards, shared resources, complementary roles etc
  • Critical reflective dialogue – regular meetings and online activities which promotes individual accountability and encourages the equitable sharing of work will enable the group to discuss their progress and collectively share the decision making
  • Shared learning space – have a common space where promotive interaction can occur through sharing and discussing the group’s progress and providing an opportunity to learn from others whether this be face to face and/or through collaborative online spaces
  • Mutual benefits – for both the individual and the group, and sometimes for the wider organisation, industry, community and/or society, are clearly identified and realised
  • Trust – this requires good social/interpersonal skills to enable trust to be developed and maintained within the group, and is supported by encouragement and praise of all involved

Additional key principles developing inter-connected, cooperative and collective learning communities which support a culture of ongoing development will appear in future posts, however, please feel free to share your own cooperative/collaborative learning experiences here.


  • Johnson, D., & Johnson, RT,. (1998). The three Cs of effective schools: Cooperative community, constructive conflict, civic values. Connections, 5(1), pp 4-10.
  • London, S. (1995). Collaboration and Community.
  • Moriarty, B. (2004). Inter-systemic research and collaboration: Ethical and political dimensions and elements of risk among cooperative communities. In P. Coombes, Danaher, MJM, & Danaher, PA, (Ed.), Strategic uncertainties: Ethics, politics and risk in contemporary educational research (pp. 143-154). Flaxton, Qld: Post Pressed.
  • Stewart, D. (ND). Principal professional learning communities – Where to next,. Retrieved from
  • White, G. (2012). Trends 2012: DERN.
Supporting a culture of ongoing development through collaborative learning

Leave a Reply