E-learning communities in Initial Teacher Training: How can undergraduate trainees be encouraged to participate in online discussion during final school experience?
INTRODUCTION This paper aims to add to our understanding of the reasons behind varied levels of participation in online communication by trainees on a four year undergraduate (UG) BA with primary teacher training programme and, in doing so, provide some information for other initial teacher training (ITT) providers who might be hoping to pursue a similar course. It sets out to answer the question 'How can undergraduate trainees be encouraged to participate in online discussion during final
... n during final school experience?' The paper outlines the outcomes of one part of a project (the 'connect4' project) which was established to provide and evaluate non-assessed online forums designed to allow trainees to maintain contact and share resources during their final placement. The data gathered allowed the following sub-questions to be considered: • What are the motivations and benefits for trainees to participate in online discussion during final school experience (SE)? • What are the barriers to online communication for trainees during final SE? The background of the connect4 project will first be explained after which some literature pertinent to the issue of participation in online discussion forums will be reviewed. The rest of the paper will focus on the evaluation of the project, outlining the methodology and discussing the issues that the data highlights. The paper will finally consider how these issues could be addressed with future cohorts of trainees and how trainees value (or otherwise) having access to online discussion forums during final SE. BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT