Interactions are important in establishing deep and meaningful learning experiences for learners in a distance education setup. Of all the activities in an online classroom, the discussion forum proved to be the one that had the most interactions. A discussion forum lets learners interact with the content, peers, and teachers. Participation in these learning activities is one important factor. The more the learners participate, the more they learn. This paper uses the researcher’s experience in determining what participation is in an online learning experience. After reviewing the experience, participation in a discussion forum is defined as a self-induced connection to the learning community to receive and share knowledge to bring a deeper understanding of a certain theory or phenomenon.” There are conditions for a behavior or action that can be considered participation. The more conditions the behavior met, the higher the level of participation it led. The conditions are the learner analyzes an abstract theory or concept and relates it to practice or experience; the learner views other people’s perspectives regarding the subject and synthesizes a stronger and deeper understanding of the acquired knowledge; the learner communicates the acquired understanding of a certain subject that induces a validation or further inquiry; lastly, the learner constructed a train of premeditated discourse that leads to the understanding of a certain subject.
KEYWORDS: participation, online learning, distance education, discussion forum, higher education
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