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Students’ and facilitators’ experiences with synchronous and asynchronous online dialogic discussions and e-facilitation in understanding the Nature of Science

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-02-19, 09:51 and posted on 2024-02-19, 12:29 authored by Nasser Mansour

The existing literature lacks a precise understanding of how online facilitation and dialogic discussions can positively impact students’ comprehension of the Nature of Science (NoS). This study delves into the experiences of students and facilitators engaged in synchronous and asynchronous online dialogic discussions and e-facilitation to enhance our understanding of NoS. An innovative experiment employed a digital dialogue game to engage postgraduate students in a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) secondary science course. The participants included sixty-five PGCE science students and three lecturers specializing in different science disciplines (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology). Qualitative data collection methods and analysis, including transcripts of online discussions about NoS topics, were followed by critical event recall interviews to identify specific online dialogue events that significantly contributed to the comprehension of NoS. The findings contribute significantly to comprehending students’ processes in grasping complex and debatable topics such as Nature of Science (NoS) within online dialogic discussions supported by e-facilitation. They emphasize the importance of establishing an open and expansive dialogic space, with a focus on the crucial roles of e-facilitators. The results also highlight a tension between active and passive roles in both synchronous and asynchronous online discussions. Additionally, the study sheds light on the influence of space, time, and texts in understanding NoS through e-facilitated online dialogic discussions. Notably, the research emphasizes the live chat room’s significance within Interloc, accentuating its role as a social space fostering a sense of community and a safe environment for inquiry in online dialogue which supported understanding NoS.

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Published in: Education and Information Technologies
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2024

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • College of Education - QU