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The importance of human interaction in online learning: Learner and instructor perceptions and expectations
DISSERTATION

, Indiana University, United States

Indiana University . Awarded

Abstract

While there has been much discussion in the literature about the importance of human interaction in online learning, many of these claims appear to be based on intuitive assumptions or anecdotal observations rather than empirically supported evidence. Previous studies have focused primarily on the learner or the instructor and none have examined and compared these two distinct entities simultaneously. Four overarching questions are addressed in this study. First, do learners and instructors perceive the importance of interaction in online learning differently? Second, what are the perceived roles of learners and instructors relative to interaction in online learning? Third, is there a relationship between learners' gender, prior educational level, or prior online experience and perceptions of the importance of interaction in online learning? Fourth, is there a relationship between the course subject matter and perceptions of the importance of interaction in online learning?

Methods. Two-hundred-sixty-five undergraduate students at a large private university in the western United States and nineteen instructors at that university, representing a wide array of disciplines, participated in this study. Data were collected online using the survey research method. The instrument used in this study, the Online Interaction Questionnaire, was created from prior known instruments and was pilot tested to ensure a high degree of reliability. An extensive discussion of the process used to create and refine this instrument is given.

Results. While both learners and instructors perceived interaction between the learner and the instructor as well as interaction between the learner and other learners as important, vicarious learner interaction was perceived to be more important than was indicated in prior research. While both groups perceived the instructor's role as more important than the role of the learner in online learning, instructors perceived the role of the learner as being more important than learners did in several areas. Gender, prior educational level and prior online experience were related to perceptions of importance, while the subject matter was not.

Citation

Monson, J.A. The importance of human interaction in online learning: Learner and instructor perceptions and expectations. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University. Retrieved September 25, 2022 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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