Online learning has become the preference of most learners and organizations as it provides learning at its own pace from anywhere, anytime, from the device of the learner’s choice. Having said that, learning is incomplete if done in a silo without exchanging ideas, learnings, and innovations. The means of assessments and competitive spirit also diminishes, if not addressed properly and in time.
Discussion forums are an effective and powerful medium to interact and collaborate with instructors and fellow learners. Exchange of learning, ease of learning, exchange of insights, collectively help the learners to discover new aspects of it. A robust learning management system must include an online collaborative learning experience through discussion forums. Connecting these discussion forums with social platforms enhances the collaborative learning experience by providing a greater level of interaction.
Let us review the benefits of incorporating discussion forums in training elaborately.
Exchange of ideas: The discussion forums on learning management systems like Bridge LMS are effective platforms where learners can start their own thread and exchange ideas via chat communications. The learner can learn from getting the answers and providing the answers on the topics where they do not have to wait for the instructor to always answer them. During these discussions, the learners put their insights forward and exchange their learnings. The feedback provided by fellow learners is often taken constructively. It also pushes the learners to take up the course seriously to stay updated spreading healthy competitive spirits among learners.
However, it is important for the convenor of the program to set up the guidelines on better quality of dialogue, right at the beginning. This will ensure that the discussion does not lose track and no inappropriate language is used by any of the participants.
Encourages self-learning: Knowing that the questions can come their way any time and from anywhere, tutor or other fellow learners, the participants puts in extra effort to prepare well. Posing relevant questions also will be possible only if the participant is taking the lessons seriously. They say, that you do not ask questions only if you have either understood everything completely or you have not understood it at all. Through the discussion forums, the learning pace becomes quicker as the learner gets the solutions from their peers without waiting for the instructor to answer.
Adds the fun factor: You can challenge others only if you are prepared well. Discussion forums provide a platform where the learners can challenge each other in quizzes and games. This makes the learning fun that in turn improves knowledge retention and keeps the participant engaged. The leaderboard can keep them motivated and competitive. Good scores provide the feeling of success and achievement.
Improves work quality: Learners can share ideas and best practices on these discussion platforms that might have the participants from dispersed locations. Implementing the same in their day-to-day work life will improve the quality of delivered work. The learners also will put in their best to achieve the quality and ideas that they can confidently share with fellow learners that they can be proud of. Ensuring that the information shared has no errors will always be their focus.
Role-playing: Bringing a diversified learner base on one platform leads to looking at the same idea from different perspectives. The learners not only get to learn different cultures and beliefs but learn to work in teams that are focused on a common goal. A common project leads to individuals playing and understanding various roles providing each one of them different yet positive learning. For example, bringing past experience and new technology together from the varied age group of participants leads to out-of-the-box thinking and coordination and collaboration leads to a good team player having his/her own individuality.
Conclusion: The learning will remain incomplete without exchanging ideas. The discussion forums help in adding the fun and the competitive factor making the learning more effective, engaging, and motivating.
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