While building Acadly, we wanted to increase student participation in the forums and statistical data from various Learning Management Systems has shown us that the traditional design for forums doesn't work because forums and discussions are 3-4 clicks (or steps) away from the context. If a student has to discuss a quiz question, they must first navigate to the forums section, create a new thread and then post the question.
Acadly, on the other hand, has contextual, auto-created discussions that work like an instant messaging service. On Acadly, if a student has to discuss any activity, they can use the persistent Discussion icon to straigtaway start talking.
An instant messaging interface is more familiar and user friendly for students than a traditional forum design.