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Building a Model Explaining the Social Nature of Online Learning

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Journal of Educational Technology & Society Volume 11, Number 3, ISSN 1176-3647 e-ISSN 1176-3647


Based on a framework emphasizing the social nature of learning, this research examines a model of how social constructs affect satisfaction within online learning using path analysis for students in higher education. The social constructs evaluated in this study include sense of community (SOC), social ability (SA), perceived ease of use (PEU) and usefulness (PU) of social awareness tools, and self-reported participation (SRP) in online courses. Students' social ability is predicted by perceived ease of use of social awareness tools and self-reported participation. Satisfaction with online learning is explained by sense of community, social ability, and self-reported participation. Sense of community is shown to be a mediator of the relationships between social ability and satisfaction (SA[right arrow]S) and between perceived usefulness and satisfaction (PU[right arrow]S). Additionally, students' social ability, perception of usefulness of social awareness tools, and self-reported participation serve as predictors for students' sense of community. The findings from the path analysis show the value of simultaneously examining the relationships among the multiple social constructs, rather than simply examining relationships of how one construct may predict another as has been shown in previous studies. (Contains 4 tables and 2 figures.)


Tsai, I.C., Kim, B., Liu, P.J., Goggins, S.P., Kumalasari, C. & Laffey, J.M. (2008). Building a Model Explaining the Social Nature of Online Learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 11(3), 198-215. Retrieved November 28, 2021 from .

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