We highlight four differences between formal educational systems and supportive systems which have to be taken into account in order to design a system rooted in online environments and social media. These differences are: 1) from pre-produced to user-generated content, 2) from individual subject motives to joint qualification interests, 3) from limited duration to continuous and sustainable activity, 4) from subject and thematic areas to a broad perspective on the participants’ skills.
On the basis of the four prerequisites, some fundamental features of a supportive system are outlined. The system is based on existing forms of online environment but which are further developed and supported methodically and systematically. A supportive system can consist of a combination of individual PLEs (personal learning environments), which are coordinated via shared online learning communities (OLC) or a PLN (personal learning network). A developed methodology based on circular ways of working supports processes in the various media and works towards progressing the individual’s development.