Challenges: Findings from Previous Empirical Research

  • Khe Foon Hew
  • Wing Sum Cheung


Although asynchronous online discussions may afford certain advantages, such benefits can only be enjoyed if students choose to participate in the discussions. While students could participate by merely reading messages, such an act does not really encourage the exchange of ideas in the online discussion because if no messages are posted in the first place there will be no messages in the discussion for students to read. Unfortunately, students who actively contribute in online discussions are usually few in numbers. This chapter discusses the various factors or reasons that could lead to limited student contribution. Limited student contribution is defined as students making few postings, students exhibiting surface-level thinking, or students displaying low-level knowledge construction in online discussions. A comprehensive literature search across six electronic databases was conducted. Ten main factors that could lead to limited student contribution were identified after a review of more than 110 empirical research studies.


Asynchronous online discussion Limitations of online discussion Online contribution Literature review Surface thinking Critical thinking Knowledge construction Online posting Problems of online discussion Limited contribution 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Education, Learning Sciences, and TechnologiesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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