Tips for using online discussion forums for learning

Tips for using online discussion forums for learning

Prior to Covid-19, many people were engaged at some level in online learning via virtual learning or fully online learning. The onset of Covid-19, has accelerated the move. While we may not physically be together on our learning journey, we can still have opportunities to discuss and share our learning with others in our group through the use of discussion forums and chat rooms. Contributions from participants are vital to discussion forums to build group rapport and to enhance the learning experience. Similarly to other forms of digital communication, good manners and proper etiquette are essential when engaging on forums and chat rooms.

Online forums

For those who are studying online and using discussion forums and chat rooms to communicate with their tutor and other course participants, there are a few pointers listed below.

  • As a shared learning environment, online forums rely on everyone making a contribution to the discussion. Make sure to join in.
  • Be careful in your choice of language – text message language, rude or offensive language is not appropriate.
  • Keep to the point. Be clear in what you are saying and avoid long and winding sentences.
  • Read through comments before submitting.
  • Before posting a question, take time to read through previous posts, to see if this question has been asked and answered already.
  • Understand that there are different points of view and experiences amongst your group, be respectful.
  • Remember never post online what you would not say in a face-to-face situation. Always remember that you leave your digital footprint – if you post it, it’s there forever.
  • Do not type in CAPS, it screams out!
  • if you are experiencing difficulties with course material, contact your tutor directly.
  • Be polite and understanding towards fellow course participants.
  • Let the course administrator know if you are experiencing any difficulties logging in to the discussion.

As adult learners, we are responsible for our own learning and how we interact with others. By following some simple guidelines, we can both gain a lot and give a lot in our online learning experiences.