Charles Ononiwu

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The study examines the role of online discussion forums (ODFs) in the learning process, using Garrison, Anderson and Archer's (2000) Community of Inquiry (CoI) model, particularly on the development of metacognitive skills, higher-order thinking skills and collaborative learning, all of which provide the impetus for workplace skills, such as analytical skills and teamwork. To achieve that, the study adopts the qualitative content analysis method to examine learners’ text submissions in the ODF. An ODF was set up on (an online learning management system), and students were invited to post their submissions in the forum bi-weekly for three months. A series of prompts from the course instructor were given to the learners in the ODF bi-weekly after the f2f classroom interaction. The prompts were designed to elicit students' responses, which would provide evidence of students’ learning, such as application of theory to practice, the abstraction of major ideas from a text, appropriate inferences and synthesis of ideas, etc. The analysis of the findings demonstrated evidence of metacognitive awareness, which was facilitated by the asynchronous nature of the discussion forum, as it gives learners sufficient time to engage in thorough research and careful thought before posting their submission. The findings also demonstrated that peer-to-peer knowledge dissemination is best stimulated using the ODF, as it gives learners opportunities to participate actively and to collaborate with their peers in the learning process.


online discussion forum, computer-mediated communication metacognitive skills, collaboration, higher education

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