Models to evaluate online learning communities of asynchronous discussion forums
AbstractRecent developments in learning theory have emphasised the importance of context and social interaction. In this vein, the notion of a learning community is gaining momentum. With the advent of asynchronous online discussion forums, learning communities now need not be confined to any specific geographical locations, as people can now interact with one another at any place and time convenient to them. In this paper, we describe appropriate models that can evaluate these online learning communities. We examine pertinent issues including learner-learner interaction, learner-teacher interaction, the thinking skills of the learners, the levels of information processing exhibited by learners in the online discussion, and the roles played by the online moderator. A practical example is also provided to illustrate how these models can be used. Finally, we discuss some drawbacks related to each model and ways for overcoming them.
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