Why don't students contribute to my forums on Learn?
This is a question I often hear from academic colleagues. It’s very easy to set up a forum on your module page on Learn, and to post a question to your students, but these actions in themselves will not usually be enough to promote discussion.
There has been plenty of academic research into this area, with factors at play identified (inter alia) as fear, confidence, motivation, technical skills, understanding of what the tutor expects, connection with the ILOs of the module, and choice of discussion topics (Skinner 2009).
For a practical guide to promoting participation, see Chad Shorter’s guidelines for effective online discussions.
The best single piece of advice is probably: give them a reason to contribute!
And, of course, you can always ask the students themselves. It may turn out that they are discussing the topic, but via a different channel such as Facebook.
Skinner, E. 2009. Using community development theory to improve student engagement in online discussion: a case study. ALT-J Research in Learning Technology 17, no. 2: 89–100.