Using Discussion Boards to Engage Learners

Active learning is an important aspect of any classroom. When students are engaged in the learning experience, it’s easier to transform the classroom into an environment where students take charge of their own learning. Using discussion boards is a powerful way to empower students to become more active learners both inside and outside of the classroom.

Strengthen the Class Community
With discussion boards, the focus of the conversation shifts from students who are generally more active in the face-to-face setting to more timid students. Online discussion posts open the door for a larger core group of students to lead the discussion, which can also strengthen the class community. Students who are less likely to speak in a face-to-face setting become empowered to speak in an online discussion, allowing other students to recognize the quiet students as respected contributors.

Inspire all Students to Engage
Because of the initiative required to participate in discussion boards, students have an opportunity to own their learning experiences. Discussion boards allow students to receive validation in a more secluded space, allowing them to have a higher level of confidence when they’re in the classroom in front of their peers. The confidence students gain from discussion board conversations likely will motivate them to participate more in the classroom setting.

Facilitate Cognitive Thinking
Cognitive thinking is one of the most important skills a student can take from any classroom experience. Incorporating the use of discussion boards allows students the extra time they need to fully think through their ideas and express them in a well thought out manner. In addition, having the opportunity to read through their peers’ ideas also helps students learn how to actively join a thought-provoking conversation, building on the ideas of others and inserting their own creative contributions.

Discussion boards enhance the learning experience. In addition to encouraging students to be more thoughtful, the power a discussion board can have over the entire classroom experience is priceless. Help students become more active learners by incorporating discussion boards into your curriculum.