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Facilitating asynchronous discussions in learning communities: the impact of moderation strategies

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A facilitator or moderator is often responsible for supporting processes and their progress in learning communities. In this article we present an approach for supporting moderators of asynchronous processes in learning communities. This approach follows the socio-technical perspective: it includes a theory-based development of moderator tasks and the technical features designed to support these tasks. Starting with relevant work in this area, we describe our approach to moderator support in the collaborative learning environment KOLUMBUS 2. In a qualitative study, a professional moderator facilitated the discussion processes of a group of 12 students based on KOLUMBUS 2. The moderator used different methods and varying levels of participation intervention. The study showed that different intervention strategies led to different levels of student participation and different successes in finding common results at the end of the discussions. Suggestions for the design of technical features are also made.

Keywords: Asynchronous discussion processes; Facilitation; Moderation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute, Darmstadt, Germany 2: Information and Technology Management, Institute for Applied Work Science, Ruhr University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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