Friday, 24 February 2012

Using forums/blogs/wikis to facilitate learning: A summary

As usual for me, I'm breaking away from an existing train of thought in these posts for something different.

When you work with VLEs/LMSs you deal extensively with the text-based communication tools that exist in all systems.  The 3 biggies are the discussion/forum tool, the blog/journal tool and the wiki tool.  Explaining how each can be used to facilitate learning within learning activities is a key challenge for the Learning Technologist.  What's really important is that you articulate clearly the subtle differences between these tools and what their pedagogical affordances are. 

Here are my attempts to sum things up:

Discussion/forum tool
Use the asynchronous online discusssion tool for engaging students in a text-based dialogue:
  • to facilitate a meaningful learning dialogue amongst students
  • to develop students‘ written communication skills
  • to allow time and space for tutors and students articulate clearly and thoughtfully when engaging in a dialogue
  • to flexibly engage with students
Blog/journal tool
Use the blog/journal tool:
  • to facilitate reflection amongst students
  • to facilitate individual feedback from tutor to student through private journal/blog structures
  • to develop students‘ written communication skills
  • to allow time and space for students articulate clearly and thoughtfully when reflecting on their learning
  • to flexibly engage with students
Wiki tool
Use the wiki tool for co-construct text:
  • to facilitate collaboration amongst students the editing and refining of eachothers words within a group project context
  • to facilitate co-operation amongst students through the allocation of tasks within a group project context
  • to allow time and space for students articulate clearly and thoughtfully when writing on a particular topic
There's much more to it of course.  However, I'm trying to summarise here and give the key messages.  I welcome the views of others.

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