Building confidence in using online learning forums
Building confidence in using online learning forums

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Building confidence in using online learning forums

4.4 Playing with experiences

As well as being playful with words and images, you can also bring your experiences to a forum. While it is a personal decision whether to write about your own experiences on forums, personal anecdotes or reflections on real-world experiences help learning ‘come to life’. This is partly because these materials are full of emotion, feelings, memories and physical responses. They were and are ‘felt’ by the writer and, therefore, are rich and full of meaning.

Just as being playful with words or images can help you ‘read’ or ‘see’ differently, sharing personal experiences can also transform your thinking and understanding of an issue, an idea or a concept. You will look at an example of this in the next activity.

Activity 7 Being playful with experiences

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Read the following forum discussion and then answer the questions below.

Andi:
Hi everyone, I was reading the article we have been set about loneliness in the over 70s in rural communities and I am sat here confused. On the one hand I have an article which suggests this is a major problem and on the other hand my mum (in her 60’s) abd my grandma (in her 80’s) who live in a village in Cumbria have a much better social life than me! Are my mum and grandma just very lucky. Are others experiences more like the article suggests?
Amma:
Hi Andi - I know what you mean! My parents are always out but their village is very close knit. I suppose it depends a little on the history and location of the village. My parents’ village isn’t in the commuter belt (too far out) and has a lot of retirees who actively organise them to do stuff together. Whereas my husband’s parents live in a commuter village for London which has expanded massively and has become quite ‘anonymous’. They know a few folk, but not for socialising with regularly.
Andi:
Amma – that’s so interesting! I hadn’t thought about size/population type, and neither did the article which focused on service and spaces for community activity.
 
  1. How did Andi keep the tone of her posts playful?
  2. How did Andi make sure she had left her initial post open enough for anyone to come into the conversation, no matter what their experiences?
  3. What was the impact of bringing these experiences together on the forum on Andi and Amma’s understanding of the issues?
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Discussion

Andi keeps her initial posting playful by bringing in some humour, contrasting her mum’s and grandma’s social life with her own and suggesting that they may be luckier than her. Andi ends by throwing in a fairly open question encouraging others to respond, no matter what their own experiences are. Both Andi and Amma broaden their understanding of the issues raised in the article. By sharing experiences, they arrive at a position where they can be more critical of the article through realising that it missed out some important factors such as size and population characteristics.

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