Online discussion forums are well suited for collaborative learning systems. Much of the currently available research indicates that effectively designed collaborative learning systems motivate and enhance learning experiences of the participants which in turn lead to enhanced learning outcomes. This paper develops taxonomy of the asynchronous online discussion forums with the aims of increasing the understanding and awareness of various types of asynchronous discussion forums. The taxonomy is framed by constructivist pedagogical principles of asynchronous online discussion forum. The key attributes of online discussions and the factors influencing the discussion forum’s design are identified. The taxonomy will help increase the online course designers’ ability to design more effective learning experiences for student success and satisfaction. It will also help researchers to understand the various features of the asynchronous discussion forums. The article concludes with implications for pedagogy and suggestions for the direction of future theoretical and empirical research.
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