Effect of Peer Interaction among Online Learning Community on Learning Engagement and Achievement

Effect of Peer Interaction among Online Learning Community on Learning Engagement and Achievement

Chih-Hung Lai (National DongHwa University, Hualien County, Taiwan), Hung-Wei Lin (National DongHwa University, Hualien County, Taiwan), Rong-Mu Lin (National DongHwa University, Hualien County, Taiwan) and Pham Duc Tho (National DongHwa University, Hualien County, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJDET.2019010105

Abstract

This article explores whether a learning community can affect students' learning achievement and engagement. Besides, this study also analyzed whether degree centralities of peer interaction affect learning achievement and learning engagement based on social network analysis. While the experimental group combined the English learning system with the online learning community, the control group was simply using the English learning system. The results indicated that the students' engagement from the online learning community were higher than the ones who used the English learning system only, although the learning achievement is not significant difference between these two groups. Moreover, higher interaction learners from the online learning community revealed better performance in learning achievement and student engagement. Other than that, the learners who played the “Center” emerged with a higher learning achievement as well as the students' engagement than the “Periphery” ones. The research provides suggestions for online learning with learning communications as well.
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Introduction

Nowadays, online learning is a favorite format for educational experiences because of its adaptability and customizability to students' needs. Allen and Seaman (2016) stated in their report that 5.8 million American students were enrolled online courses in 2014, with 2.85 million students taking all of their courses. They also noted 63.3 percent of higher education academic leaders have agreed that online learning will become essential to their long-term strategy. It is an advantage of online learning that students can learn at their own pace without any limitations in time or space. However, also it is a disadvantage when the motivation and participation during the online course cannot be maintained long-term without assistance. To resolve the problem, researchers have proposed sending reminders and learning content through email (Hayati, Jalilifar, & Mashhadi, 2013; Hodges, 2008; Hodges & Kim, 2010) or a short message service (SMS) (Hayati et al., 2013) to foster study. Nevertheless, these systems remain a solo endeavor, and the relationship difficulties that are frequently recounted by students remain, including the lack of interaction between students (Park, 2007; Safford & Stinton, 2016), difficulty in initiating and maintaining communication (Rice & Carter Jr, 2016), the ambiguity of posted messages, and technical problems (Park & Choi, 2009; Vayre & Vonthron, 2017).

Many researchers pointed out that peer interaction is an essential part of learning (Aghaee & Keller, 2016) and an essential element in online learning in recent studies (Aghaee & Keller, 2016; C. H. Lai, Tho, & Liang, 2017; Robson, 2016; Yemen-Karpuzcu, Ulusoy, & Işıksal-Bostan, 2017; Yu-Tzu, Ming-Puu, Chia-Hu, & Pu-Chen, 2017). Yemen-Karpuzcu et al. (2017) introduced the interaction between students as “…an important requirement for learning since it provides opportunities for them to formulate ideas, reveal their understanding, and reflect on their thoughts.” Also, the engagement in peer interaction push students to construct ideas genuinely, and also increases their achievement (Aghaee & Keller, 2016). However, there have been a limited number of studies assessing how to use ICT in peer interaction efficiently (Liu, Chen, & Tai, 2017; Yemen-Karpuzcu et al., 2017) and what are the influencing factors on learners' peer interaction experiences (L. S. Anderson & Hildenbrand, 2009) and quality outcomes (Aghaee & Keller, 2016; Carini, Kuh, & Klein, 2006; Yang & Wu, 2011; Yu-Tzu et al., 2017).

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