I just had a reflective read through my e-fellow research report written in 2008 and was struck by how, four years later, the Blended Learning Model is so much more relevant today.
In 2008, using Moodle’s forum tool, I encouraged a Year 11 History class to interact with the course content through a blend of online and class discussion and debate. A rigorous analysis of the value of this was completed followed by conclusions about the value of the model for improving student learning.
Also consider that the class had yet to encounter the Moodle LMS (VLE) prior to the study and that this was pre-Facebook which did not enter the New Zealand teenage scene until sometime during 2009.
The reason I believe that we, as teachers, should be using discussion forums with our students is that this is the environment that students now live and are at their most comfortable – ie regular online discussion and chat. Students are happy to discuss, comment and debate in this medium so why not bring it into learning?
I have observed a lot of Moodle courses in a number of school environments with a range of resource and activity tools being used. My belief however, is that the most under-utilised tool, and the one that has the most potential to help improve student learning is the Moodle Forum.
Here is a link to my Blended E-Learning Research Report called “How can Student Interactivity be Enhanced through the use of a Blended Learning Approach?”