What does it mean to be part of an “imagined community”? For the concept’s founding father, Benedict Anderson, it means the things that make people feel bonded together in a community exist within one’s mind. He was primarily talking about nations, stating that they are “…imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (Anderson, 1983, p. 6). Anderson’s ideas can also be applied to the eLearning space. You can’t physically hear, see, or meet your fellow peers. In your mind, however, you know they’re partaking in the same eLearning experience as you.
eLearning spaces don’t have to only be imagined. Our very own Terra Events brings the imagined community of eLearning to life, albeit virtually. With Terra Events, companies create live conferences where users have the opportunity to meet others and interact in real time.
Keep reading to explore how Terra Events fosters an imagined eLearning community!
With Terra Events, borders are collapsed, and bridges are built. The geographical barriers that may keep participants separated or unable to attend company events and conferences no longer exist. Our designers and developers make the event space look and feel like an in-person conference without the headaches that often come along with event planning!
One example of how Terra Events does this is through simulating environments with several event spaces. We work with clients to create customized virtual worlds that simulate an array of environments. We’ve designed dazzling cityscapes, underwater adventures, videogame worlds, and even Tolkien-like adventures. Attendees then explore different rooms focused on specific tasks. These often include completing courses, meeting virtual vendors, attending live events, playing games, and more. This virtual functionality bridges the imagined space of a digital conference and makes it a tangible experience for participants. What would otherwise be imagined through text becomes actualized through images and real-time interaction.
Whether clients aim to deliver larger keynote lectures or smaller workshops, Terra has the ability to draw a crowd. With virtual rooms made to simulate auditorium stages, attendees are able to transform their home office chair right into an auditorium seat (with an endless amount of their favorite refreshments and snacks right within their grasp).
Instead of simply imagining other like-minded attendees at a virtual event, Terra enables participants to connect and interact with one another. In this way, Terra encourages active participation and engagement as opposed to passive consumption.
Attendees are able to connect with one another in a number of creative ways. First, users curate public, personal profiles to give an idea of who they are before even meeting anyone. Want to get to know someone better? Similar to your favorite social media platforms, Terra allows users to send a connection request before diving into their DMs. Users can choose to keep chatting via direct messaging or meet new pals face-to-face in a live video chat.
While networking and connecting often happen more organically during in person interactions, virtual functions are actually an introvert’s best friend — people who may feel more reserved in large groups actually have the time and space to connect with others at their leisure without feeling overwhelmed!
With more and more social activities making their way into the Web 2.0 world, the fear is that we may lose the connections afforded by face-to-face interactions that work to build and maintain communities. While virtual affairs may never replace the unparalleled energy of in-person interactions, we can take solace in knowing that building and sustaining communities can never be completely eradicated. So long as humans keep craving a sense of community, event platforms like Terra will continue to act as the bridge that keep borders of geographically displaced parties flowing in an open stream of imagined and actualized connection.
Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London, UK: Verso.
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