Influences on learner-learner interaction in online classes
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Interaction, particularly learner-learner interaction, needs to be cultivated in online classes in order for students to have a satisfying learning experience. This study considered two graduate level online classes in an effort to determine: 1) is cognitive style related to the quantity of learner-learner interaction in online courses, 2) is there a relationship between learner characteristics and learner posting preferences in learner-learner interaction in online courses, 3) how do selected learners differ in their use of interaction elements during online discussion, and 4) how do selected learners perceive their experiences in online courses. Using the Student Demographic Questionnaire, the Group Embedded Figures Test, the Text Analysis Tool, and an Interview Protocol developed by the researcher, the study was conducted with a mixed method design. Learner-learner interaction was considered in terms of the students' contributions to the FirstClass discussion activities that were completed as part of the course requirements. This study found that: a) there is not a correlation between cognitive style and quantity of learner-learner interaction, b) some learner characteristics do influence learner posting preferences, c) interaction elements during online discussion do not indicate the content of discussion, but do somewhat indicate how the discussion is taking place, and d) students have opinions on how their experiences in online courses should impact online course design, particularly in terms of knowing the learner and communication. Knowing the learner was discussed in terms of time management, motivation, and differences among learners. Communication was discussed in terms of spontaneity, isolation, freedom, and accountability. Course design was discussed in terms of flexibility, organization, accountability, and technology. The results of this study have implications regarding online course design and recommendations for future research.
Fite, Shannon Diane (2006). Influences on learner-learner interaction in online classes. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from