A chat is synchronous communication, which is a way of describing how it allows you and your learners to hold a text-based discussion in real time. The Moodle chat room is different from the forum (which is asynchronous) because for forum discussions, the learners don't need to be logged in at the same time. In a chat room, students need to be logged in to the session at the same time and participate in a structured activity you can control. The Moodle chat room is similar to Google chat, AIM, MSN Messenger, and other chat rooms. However, the Chat module in Moodle is unique because it's tied to your course, and you have instant access to all the messages between learners, and between you and your learners. Having a record of the communication can be used in other activities, and you control how it's used within your course.
Although not as robust as some of the instant messaging found on the Internet, the Moodle chat room is an effective learning tool that instructors find useful. Here are a number of ways that instructors use the Moodle chat room: