HELLO is both a learning community and a community of practice. A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. A learning community is a group that assembles around a joint purpose to provide mutual support and sharing of experiences within a defined domain or subject area. According to Wikipedia “Community psychologists such as McMillan and Chavis (1986) state that there are four key factors that define a sense of community: “(1) membership, (2) influence, (3) fulfillment of individuals needs and (4) shared events and emotional connections. So, the participants of a learning community must feel some sense of loyalty and belonging to the group (membership) that drive their desire to keep working and helping others, also the things that the participants do must affect what happens in the community; that means, an active and not just a reactive performance (influence). Besides a learning community must give the chance to the participants to meet particular needs (fulfillment) by expressing personal opinions, asking for help or specific information, and sharing stories of events with particular issues including (emotional connections) emotional experiences .” HELLO meets these requirements in the following ways-
- Membership: While much of the site content is readable to anonymous visitors, you must be a registered member to truly participate. See the Welcome Page for more details.
- Influence: HELLO is primarily a set of tools and therefore the content of the site is determined by the members who can author peer reviewed articles, post to the blog and collaborate on documents, submit resources and comment on and discuss all of the foregoing. Some resource submissions may require moderation by the site administrator to ensure their contents are appropriate to the mission of HELLO. The HELLO Community Advisory Council which is made up of members, advises the President and COO on functionality, policy, and operational issues. In addition, the HELLO Community Editorial Board reviews and approves publication of peer reviewed articles for the community.
- Fulfillment of Individual Needs: Members can ask questions of the community, conduct polls and surveys to gather data from peers, and access multiple resources to help them do their jobs more easily and effectively.
- Emotional Connections: Over time it is hoped that members will create connections with each other through HELLO and may arrange to meet at conferences, etc.