Discussion Forums as Learning Resources in Web-based Education

D. Helic, H. Maurer, and N. Scerbakov


WBE systems, discussion forums, reuse, learning resources, semantic modelling, information retrieval


Discussion forums are very popular and widely applied tools in Web-based education (WBE) systems. Usually, discussion forums are used by learners to discuss topics related to courseware, their current learning task, or the learning project they are working on. These discussion forums contain tremendous educational potential for future learners, as they contain question-and-answer dialogues, discussions, or examples made by previous learners. Thus, by simply reusing these discussion forums as new learning resources in WBE systems, future learners have very valuable learning information based on the hands-on experience of previous learners. However, implementing such a simple yet powerful idea in WBE systems is not a trivial task. Finding relevant information in discussion forums might be seen as a rather tedious task, and the results of such a process leave much to be desired. In this article we present a simple tool that solves problems related to information retrieval in discussion forums and thus allows reuse of the forum content as new learning resources in WBE systems.

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