Online forums are besides known as treatment boards or message boards. They enable users of a web site to interact with each other by interchanging tips and discoursing subjects related to a certain subject. Learning through online forum is an of import acquisition scheme for pupils to better their linguistic communication skills.This article looks at the benefits of on-line forum in linguistic communication larning peculiarly in bettering pupils ‘ authorship and communicating accomplishments.
Keywords: online forum, linguistic communication acquisition, composing accomplishments, communicating accomplishments
Technology has the possible to heighten the acquisition of pupils if used suitably. It can promote more independent and active acquisition ( McKimm, Jollie, & A ; Cantillon, 2003 ) . A cardinal ground for the usage of engineering within a learning state of affairs is to heighten the quality of acquisition and instruction ( Groves & A ; O’Donoghue 2009 ) .
With the rapid development of computer-mediated communicating, online forums have become more involved in schoolroom scenes to advance pupil critical thought, cognition building and linguistic communication larning liberty ( Lim & A ; Chai 2004 ; Marra, Moore & A ; Klimczak 2004 ) .
Computer-based on-line treatments or online forums have been used in a broad scope of higher instruction puting to supply major larning environments for distance instruction or to supplement face-to-face treatment ( Jacobsen 2006 ) . Discussion board or online forum is one of the primary tools of electronic larning harmonizing to Harman & A ; Koohang ( 2005 ) .
The usage of computing machine based on-line treatment through on-line forum is apparent in the course of study of many classs throughout the physical universe in universities such as in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America ( Scott & A ; Ryan 2009 ) . Although on-line treatments are employed by most universities in Malaysia ( Sam and Lee 2008 ) , schools may non be cognizant of this new engineering.
In the Malayan context, pupils in primary and secondary schools do non get adequate pattern and exposure in English linguistic communication since it is taught for a limited period of clip in the schoolroom. There is a demand for instructors to promote pupils to utilize new engineerings such as on-line forum to derive more exposure in the linguistic communication. As purported by So ( 2009 ) , asynchronous on-line treatment forums, are some of the simplest computer-mediated communicating tools that instructors can easy incorporate into their instruction to widen treatments beyond schoolroom contexts.
This article is organized by turn toing the undermentioned inquiries:
What are the benefits of online forum?
What are the features of a good online forum?
Does online forum improve pupils ‘ composing accomplishments?
Does online forum improve pupils ‘ communicating accomplishments?
DEFINITION OF ONLINE FORUM
Harmonizing to Sheri Cyprus ( 2010 ) , an online forum is besides known as a message board, on-line treatment group, bulletin board or net forum. It differs from a web log. An on-line forum is a treatment country on a website whereby members can post treatments, read and respond to stations by other forum members. A forum can go around around any topic in an online community.
Like other internet-based acquisition environments, online forums supply a manner for keeping communicating for scholars who are non able to run into face-to-face or who prefer logging-on at different times ( Sanchez- Sweatman 2001 ) . Online forum is a sort of computing machine mediated communicating which allows person to pass on with others by posting written messages to interchange thoughts. It uses asynchronous type of communicating ( Santosa et. al 2005 )
Nelson ( 2010 ) postulated that an on-line forum can be defined as an accessible group communicating infinite. Proper use of online forums can heighten the effectivity of communicating.
THE BENEFITS OF ONLINE FORUM
Online forums provide many benefits to pupils and instructors. In a research conducted by Teine ( 2000 ) , pupils have been found to be in favour of the self-paced, self-regulated characteristic of asynchronous treatments compared to face-to-face treatments.
On the other manus, Callan ( 2006 ) , states that online forums create a treatment environment. Everything that gets posted gets read over and over once more. Online forums seldom turn into het statements as people are given clip to research and see their remarks before answering. This in bend, makes high-quality treatment.
Smith ( 2001 ) points out that good structured and suitably facilitated on-line treatment can supply a acquisition environment that allows the immediate application of new information to scholars ‘ personal and professional lives. Besides, online forums are more flexible compared to confront to confront communicating as they provide clip to reflect and believe and let both introspective and extrospective pupils to be involved in on-line treatments.
Chinedu ( 2008 ) expresses that by take parting in online forums, entree to knowledge is free. Forum members are of all time willing to portion their cognition and experience with others, and every member of the forum can profit from this extract of free cognition.
Here are some possible benefits of regular online forum engagement harmonizing to Pavlina ( 2005 ) :
Learning new thoughts and polishing old 1s
Enjoying community rank
Influencing the forum ‘s development
Lending to others
Making new friends and contacts
New concern leads
Keeping up with current events
Learning about new chances
Evidence besides shows that the messages composed by pupils in online forums include longer solutions for problem-solving, and consist of deeper contemplations compared to face-to-face treatments ( Hara et al. 2000 ) . Research workers have found that pupils can take more clip to read, craft, reflect on their responses, and happen relevant information when composition messages in such an environment ( O’Neill et al. 2006 ; Wang and Woo 2007 ) .
Peterson and Caverly ( 2005 ) established in their research that on-line treatments build a motivation societal pattern of current coevals pupils, who use engineering to reach friends and household throughout the twenty-four hours.
In online forums, pupils develop their liberty in linguistic communication acquisition. Each participant is given more authorization to determine or take the treatment in the way they prefer, while instructors may hold comparatively less control over the learning interactions ( Choi et al. 2005 ) .
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD ONLINE FORUM
There are legion features of a good online forum. Martyn ( 2005 ) discerned seven elements of a good online forum. They are:
Require pupils to take part
Grade pupil attempts
Involve larning squads
Necessitate a manus in assignment
Pose inquiries and scenarios that require scholars to utilize their ain experience
Associate the treatment to class aims
Qing Li ( 2004 ) in her research recognized nine features of a good online forum. They are:
Establish a friendly, unfastened environment
Use reliable undertakings and subjects
Stress learner-centered direction
Encourage pupils to give constructive feedback and suggestions
Let pupils see, reflect and portion the benefit of utilizing threaded treatment
Be certain that teachers facilitate coaction and cognition edifice
Encourage duologue and referencing of other pupil posters
Use wit for motive
Use emoticons to assist convey thoughts and feelings
In add-on, harmonizing to Peterson and Caverly ( 2005 ) , good online forums provide a societal presence, in which pupils and teacher are able to show themselves as “ existent people ” and pass on with their personality.
ONLINE FORUM IMPROVES WRITING SKILLS
A well-structured on-line treatment forum can supply pupils with extended pattern in composing. The online forum allows chance for the facilitation of curricular aims via modern engineering. Online treatment forums provide an genuineness in authorship and hence serve as a meaningful addendum to the authorship course of study ( Pauley 2001 ) .
Aileen Ng ( 2008 ) in her survey discovered that the execution of the online forum appears to supply support undertakings to enable pupils to pattern their authorship. Besides that, the online forum besides facilitates collaborative acquisition. Students could portion their thoughts and sentiments in order to bring forth better quality composing as compared to if the undertakings were to be completed independently.
Schuetze ( 2010 ) conducted a research in the University of Victoria Canada and the University of Kiel in Germany. The survey showed that most pupils of both universities felt comfy composing online and they wrote more than of all time before. They used the forum more actively than in a face-to-face schoolroom or confab. In bend, some pupils besides mentioned that they liked to read what other pupils posted in online forums.
In a survey among 25 Chinese and Kiwi scholars, Gerbric ( 2005 ) encountered that online forums provide chances specifically for peculiar groups of pupils. Chinese pupils found the practical and text-based nature of the medium allowed them to come in treatments more easy and they felt more comfy with their written responses compared to face-to-face treatments.
ONLINE FORUM IMPROVES COMMUNICATION SKILLS
A figure of surveies have found that online forums are good in developing communicating accomplishments ( Abrams 2003 ; Blake 2009 ) . The greatest potency for effectual usage of on-line communicating as a learning tool is when the pupils are ‘at a distance ‘ from the school and their instructors ( Crowell & A ; McCarragher 2007 ) .
Holmes ( 2004 ) identified a period of increased communicating between on-line participants of his survey after 10 yearss of interaction on online forum and asserted that input from instructors or teachers during this period led to maximise acquisition chances.
Scott and Ryan ( 2009 ) in their survey discovered that on-line members become more occupied in treatments and interacted efficaciously when they were set appropriate undertakings. Complex tasks necessitating research and treatment seemed appropriate undertakings for little groups to work on collaboratively. When pupils are given jobs related to their anterior experience, the treatments show higher degrees of interaction, and the participants show more passion for the subject ( Puntambekar 2006 ) .
Peterson and Caverly ( 2006 ) in their survey discovered that through online forums, instructors are able to document the growing of their pupils ‘ ability to back up a point in their messages. Students improved their ability to react to a schoolmate and to do a point supported with grounds.
Online forum is a good manner of communication, particularly when the instructor or lector is unavailable. It is besides a good manner to pass on with everyone as it creates a good communicating between pupils and school ( Greig & A ; Skehill 2008 ) . In concurrency with the statement, Yu ( 2002 ) affirmed that pupils were more comfy and less aggressive when take parting in online forums. Online forums besides offered more equal chances for group members to voice their sentiments.
Research conducted by Yang ( 2007 ) shows that pupils demonstrated really high degrees of interaction among group members. Online forum is regarded as a societal interaction that reduces pupils ‘ trust on the face-to-face treatments.
In a survey carried out by Schellens and Valcke ( 2005, 2006 ) , asynchronous treatment forums attained a higher proportion of higher stages of cognition creative activity compared to confront to confront treatments. This occurred due to the huge bulk of communicating in the asynchronous environment was task oriented.
The online forum is an ideal topographic point to set a acquisition community and its learning objects on the same page ( Harman and Koohang 2005 ) . In order to offer a successful treatment forum, instructors need to be to the full skilled in practical usage of the sites and committed to prosecuting with them, believing in their relevancy and benefit for pupils and willing to pass dedicated clip every hebdomad on the treatment forum with pupils. As Salmon ( 2004 ) advises, instructors need to take clip to invest pupils to the on-line treatment tools and concentrate on familiarisation and socialisation into the on-line forum from the beginning.
Anderson et Al. ( 2001 ) stated that active engagement of a instructor is critical in keeping the involvement and motive of pupils in on-line treatments. Russo and Benson ( 2005 ) reported that pupil perceptual experiences of instructor ‘s presence were significantly correlated with pupil larning satisfaction.
In amount, on-line forum may supply a manner for instructors to better the quality of their pupils ‘ linguistic communication acquisition accomplishments. Therefore, linguistic communication instructors in Malaysia should see incorporating online forums into their linguistic communication instruction to develop pupils ‘ authorship and communicating accomplishments.