Learning through Discussion

Challenging learners to articulate their own thoughts, have them challenged, and work toward resolution is the basis of learning through discussion. It can take many class-based forms, such as seminar, tutorial, small-group, buzz group, activity sets etc.

The use of learning technologies provides additional affordances for use of discussion as pedagogy, with the possibility of it being asynchronous as well as synchronous. 


Asynchronous discussion

Having independence from time constraints can benefit the learning experience:

  • allowing students time to reflect before contributing to discussions;
  • providing greater equity compared to face-to-face discussions;
  • an increase in student voice compared to teacher voice;
  • students can contribute when convenient to them.

Learning technologies to support asynchronous discussion include:

  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Wikis
  • Aula
  • Social networking tools

Synchronous discussion

Synchronous communication tools provide the benefit of immediate interaction independent of space using text, audio or video.

Where synchronous online activities are designed into courses they can be challenging to facilitate and are better used with small groups and with a clear purpose, for example being used alongside asynchronous discussion at decision-making points.  

  • Teams
  • Big Blue Button

Example 1

Example 2


Photo credit: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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