A Content Analysis of Critical Thinking Skills as an Indicator of Quality of Online Discussion in Virtual Learning Communities Academic Article uri icon


  • Online discussion is a common tool to create learner-learner interaction. Whole class discussions can result in potentially hundreds of postings with students spending more time creating the illusion of participation as opposed to critical reflection and deeper learning. The purpose of this study was to determine quality of online discussion based on critical thinking constructs when learners were placed in smaller learning communities and not exposed to whole class discussion. The researchers sought to determine if discrepancies among the groups would exist and if students would receive the full benefit of learner-learner interaction by placing them in smaller groups.

published proceedings

  • Quarterly Review of Distance Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Wickersham, L. E., & Dooley, K. E.

complete list of authors

  • Wickersham, LE||Dooley, Kim E

publication date

  • January 2006