As a way to support teachers’ professional development activities and build communities of practice for teachers, education researchers and practitioners have put considerable effort into building an online learning community for K–12 teachers to create a venue to facilitate teachers’ joint knowledge construction. However, a substantial number of such online communities have failed due to lack of participation of members. Therefore, it is critical to understand how to design a sustainable community that fulfills members’ needs and elicits active participation of members. In this literature review, we adopted a sociological framework to investigate how to create a sustainable online community. This framework suggests that the sustainability of a community comes from individual members’ three types of commitments: instrumental, affective, and moral commitments. Such commitments are results of members’ cognitive, cathectic, and evaluative processes and lead to membership retainment, cohesive relationships, and socially regulated participation. Using this framework, we conducted a systematic literature review on online teacher community articles published from 1990 to 2018. Our findings provide insights on factors associated with teacher members’ instrumental, affective, and moral commitment to an online community. Based on these findings, we further provide design suggestions to build a sustainable community for teachers.
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