One of the major benefits to elearning, or any online training for that matter, is the ability to facilitate comments and discussion. It can be a great way for learners to interact with one another despite large distances, and it is also helpful in learning retention.
But despite these benefits, there is one problem: many discussion boards are empty.
An empty discussion board or forum has the potential to reflect poorly on the course content, and even the institution responsible for the material.
Why Aren’t Your Learners Participating?
Here are some tips to help you better promote your online discussions with the content takers:
- Make the discussion board graded, or part of a certificate process.
- Don’t hide the link to the forums – it should be clear where discussions take place.
- Clearly post all guidelines (in multiple places) for the forum.
- Display topics in chronological order.
- Tie all discussion back to core learning objectives and include a link to the course or any referenced material.
- Don’t ask questions that are too broad – keep the topic focused.
- Encourage (and even start) controversial discussion.
- Discussion topics in a forum should be spike curiosity (the previous tip is a great way to do this).
- Don’t just moderate the discussions, participate in them and help bring it back to the main point if it starts to go off topic.
- Don’t dominate the discussions.
Keeping these tips in mind as you implement an online discussion forum with your elearning will go a long way in encouraging creative thinking and getting the learners to think about the content in another context.