What is group discussion?
This might seem like an obvious question, but when it comes to e-Learning, there are a few different ways that group discussion can work. Group discussions typically work in one of two ways in a Learning Management System setting - as chat rooms, or as discussion boards. Chat rooms are message windows that pop up within a Course and let participants talk in real time, like Slack, Google Hangouts, or Facebook Messenger. Discussion boards operate like forums, where participants can post a thread and other participants can reply to it.
There are pros and cons of each form of group discussion - discussion boards, for example, are designed to sort group discussion into categories to make information easier to find, but they can be dense, and it's often hard to encourage participants to click on individual threads and respond to them. Chat rooms, in comparison, are not very efficient at archiving information, but provoke higher levels of interaction with participants, as they pop up on-screen and are suited to general discussion.
Why do I need group discussion?
Group discussion plays a vital role in the consolidation of e-Learning - by talking about the content that they're learning, participants are ingraining it in their memories. Allowing participants to discuss what they're learning can also increase their interest in it, raising levels of intrinsic motivation and resulting in higher Course completion rates. Discussing how far they are through their Course can also prompt competition amongst participants, pushing them to complete more content in order to keep up with each other.
How do I implement group discussion in eCoach?
Group discussion is built into the eCoach LMS platform. To start group discussion amongst your participants, simply tell them how to use the feature (by clicking the Group Chat button in their Course Overview screens), and give them an incentive. Facilitators can post in the Group Chat window too, so if participants aren't talking, you can prompt discussion with a post.