Using discussion forums to support continuing education of workplace learning supervisors: enabling a community of practice
Keywords:asynchronous, community of practice, continuing education, discussion forum, online learning, professional learning, workplace learning
Workplace learning (WPL) supervisors play a significant and fundamental role in enhancing university students’ experiences during their placements. Supervision is a multi-faceted and complex interpersonal and professional activity, which requires continued education to ensure contemporary knowledge, practice and capacity. Increasingly universities are viewing the offering of continued education for industry supervisors as an aspect of their mandate. This research reports on the design, facilitation and evaluation of an online learning module, supported by an asynchronous discussion forum aimed at building capacity of WPL supervisors, and developing cross-disciplinary WPL relationships.
Using a mixed method approach, data were gathered using crude statistical measures including frequency counts of discussion postings, layered with thematic analysis of supervisors’ postings to weekly learning activity stimuli. The results of the research illustrate the powerful opportunities for continued education offered by participation in a purposely designed and supported discussion forum. Participants felt empowered, supported by their online colleagues and enlightened by their enhanced awareness of others’ practices and perspectives. Participants’ capacity to further disseminate their embellished understandings of WPL supervision bought to the fore the far-reaching possibilities of discussion forum use in building professional communities of practice and professional capacity.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Deb Clarke
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