Collaborative learning may play an important role in training employees or channel partners. Collaborative learning enables your people to obtain vital information which they may not be able to obtain through formal training programs.
Collaborative learning can be provided using various tools. In this blog, I am going to talk about “Discussion Forums” in Moodle. In my coming blogs, I will try to cover tools which can be used for collaborative learning.
Good news for Moodle users they need not go for paid or free 3rd party discussion forum applications as it is already available in the LMS. Many other LMSs do have this feature. The main advantage of using an in-built discussion forum is you can include the forum in the course curriculum easily. Whereas, to integrate external discussion forums, you may have to put in extra effort and spend money.
Here is a list of features available, for collaborative learning, in the Moodle discussion forum plug-in.
1. Create roles and give permissions: It is possible to create any type of role by giving appropriate permissions to add new topics, view, subscribe, reply, edit and delete.
2. Add discussion forums: Administrators and instructors can add new discussion topics. You may have two types of discussion forums. – one, open to all registered LMS users, where everyone can participate, and the other which is specific one is specific to the course which can be accessed by learners who are enrolled to that particular course.
3. Moderate discussions: As an administrator, you can set selected instructor as a moderator to a particular course discussion forum who will moderate and monitor all the discussions happening.
4. Track discussions: The moderator can know how many responses are received and who has responded. You can view all the responses in a nested format as shown in the image.
5. Respond: As a learner/participant, you can view the topics and respond to them. You can also respond to a specific reply from another user on the same topic.
6. Subscribe and receive notifications: Authorized users can subscribe to a discussion to receive e-mail notifications whenever an update takes place in the forum. If a user unsubscribes, then no email notifications will be received. You can force subscription, give a choice to subscribe or configure automatic subscription.
7. Attach resources: It has WYSIWYG text entry option to respond. Audio, videos, images, PowerPoint presentations, MS-Word documents and other resources can be attached. If required, file size limitations can also be configured.
8. Rate forums: Instructors can rate the discussion on a scale of 10. This helps them motivate learners to have informative discussions.
All these features will help learners and instructors to learn and train through discussion forums. It is the instructor’s job to moderate discussion topics and motivate learners to keep the discussion active. Learners can ask specific question or share their real time experiences on a particular aspect, which may benefit other users in the same domain. You can give it a try to explore its advantages.