Promoting Interaction in an Asynchronous E-Learning Environment

Promoting Interaction in an Asynchronous E-Learning Environment

Maria Pavlis Korres (University of Alcalá, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7316-8.ch007
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Abstract

Interaction is at the heart of the online learning experience. Theorists consider interaction a defining characteristic of education and regard it as vitally important in the design of e-learning courses. Interaction is a significant component in promoting learners' positive attitudes towards online education and affects their educational performance. This chapter examines the various ways an e-learning environment can promote interaction among participants by using the appropriate communication tools. It presents the results of a pilot e-learning course, confirming that different types of interaction can be promoted at a high level in an online environment and will contribute effectively to the achievement of the learning objectives.
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Interaction In Online Learning Environment

Interaction is at the heart of the online learning experience. Moore’s (1989) transactional distance theory considers interaction a defining characteristic of education and regards it as vitally important in the design of distance education.

Researchers have shown that interaction is a significant component in promoting learners’ positive attitudes towards distance education: when learners perceive a high level of interaction they are more satisfied, while, when they perceive low interaction, they are dissatisfied, which affects their academic performance. (Booher & Seiler, 1982; Thompson, 1990; Fulford &Zhang, 1993; Muirhead, 2001).

Moore (1989) identified three kinds of interaction that support learning: learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner interaction.

Learner-content interaction is the process in which students examine, consider, and process the course information presented during the educational experience. According to Moore and Kearsley (1996), “Every learner has to construct knowledge through a process of personally accommodating information into previously existing cognitive structures. It is interacting with content that results in these changes in the learner’s understanding” (p.128).

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