Author: Whittaker. P Publication Year: 2013
Summary: Public Health Specialty Registrars in North West England are geographically dispersed, and so an on-line discussion forum exists. This paper examines how the discussion forum is currently being used, and to what extent it is acting as a remote community of practice supporting situated learning.
Description: Background Public Health Specialty Registrars in North West England are geographically dispersed, and so an on-line discussion forum exists with the aim to provide peer educational support remotely.

Aim This paper examines how the discussion forum is currently being used, and to what extent it is acting as a remote community of practice supporting situated learning.

Methods All the messages posted on the discussion forum in a three month period were examined to identify the year group of the registrar, and the subject of the message. The use of the discussion forum by the registrars, and the author’s experience of using the discussion forum were examined in relation to the situated learning model.

Results The most common uses of the discussion forum were; invites or reminders to educational events, and discussions relating to requests for peer support with problem-solving or information finding.

Conclusion The discussion forum supports situated learning among a group of geographically disperse speciality registrars by enabling ready access to advice and support from peers, and allowing members to share questions and anxieties in a non-threatening, supportive environment. It is a good example of an online discussion forum acting effectively as a community of practice.

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