The Impact of Career Focused Online Discussion Forums




online discussion forum, career learning, career identity, community inquiry, higher education


This mixed method research project investigated the impact and utility of online discussion forums (ODFs) hosted by the The Open University (UK) Careers and Employability Services in supporting the career identity, learning and development of Open University students. Despite a substantial evidence base underpinning the use of ODFs within online learning environments for pedagogical applications there is a paucity of scholarly activity linking student participation within ODFs for specific career learning and career development purposes. In addressing this gap, this novel research draws upon influential career theory relating to career learning and career identity to situate student and staff perceptions of careers focussed ODFs and their impact. To achieve this the interactions of higher education students were analysed within six selected ODFs whilst more in-depth insights were captured through student questionnaires and staff interviews. The findings of this study demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of ODFs for the growth of career identity and learning, and also as a space where critical community inquiry can occur, contributing to deeper approaches to learning for participants.


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How to Cite

Fowkes, L. (2021). The Impact of Career Focused Online Discussion Forums. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 20(2), 61–68.