SA Journal of Education, Vol 40, No 2 (2020)

Online discussion forum: A tool to support learning in business management education

Muntuwenkosi Abraham Mtshali, Suriamurthee Moonsamy Maistry, Desmond Wesley Govender


The introduction of online-supported teaching and learning in education calls for a better understanding of how online support is experienced by South African students (many of whom encounter this technology for the very first time at university) and how their experiences of online support may influence their learning. The mixed-methods approach used in the study reported on here incorporated a qualitative component that drew on the principles of phenomenography. From 156 students enrolled in a business management education module that forms part of the Bachelor of Education curriculum, 15 participants were selected using phenomenographic sampling. A sequential-exploratory quantitative investigation was then undertaken to test qualitative findings. Qualitative data sources included personal reflective journals, focus group discussions and individual interviews; quantitative data were generated from questionnaires administered to the respondents. In the principal findings participants indicated that the online discussion forum offered them a context for learning through social interaction in qualitatively different ways, and this offers insights into how developing nations might address the need to engage with pedagogical practices in the online space.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Muntuwenkosi Abraham Mtshali –
Suriamurthee Moonsamy Maistry -
Desmond Wesley Govender -

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