A Peek into the Life of Online Learning Discussion Forums: Implications for Web-Based Distance Learning


  • Mary Allan




Supporting quality learning in online discussion forums is an intricate task, particularly for e-tutors aspiring to facilitate vigorous interactive learning environments. I argue that the key to successful online discussion forums is the ability of e-tutors to provide learners with feedback well informed in the meaning making and knowledge advancement processes emanating from learner interactions. In this paper, a newly developed concept of providing e-tutors with the information they require is explored, exhibiting the Event Centre (EC) concept, through which tutors are able to obtain periodic “snapshots” of the occurrences throughout discussion forums, which highlight processes of meaning construction and knowledge advancement. The EC concept provides e-tutors with visual images that depict the links and routes through which participants using text messages convey meaning, construct knowledge, and create Socio-Informational networks within discussion forums.

Keywords: e-learning, online discussion forums, e- tutoring, visualising social networks, monitoring online learning, online constructivist learning

Author Biography

Mary Allan

After spending long years as an educator implementing ICT in education, and completing a Masters degree in Mass Communication, Mary Allan is currently writing her PhD thesis, which combines her education experience with her mass communication expertise. Mary’s thesis explores online discussion forums adopting structural as well as content analysis research approaches. Mary Allan’s email address is: mary.allan@canterbury.ac.nz




How to Cite

Allan, M. (2004). A Peek into the Life of Online Learning Discussion Forums: Implications for Web-Based Distance Learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v5i2.188



Research Articles