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Interactivity and synchronicity in online learning. Alastair G. Smith School of Information Management Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand Alastair.Smith@vuw.ac.nz. Overview. Interactivity and synchronicity in distance learning

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interactivity and synchronicity in online learning

Interactivity and synchronicity in online learning

Alastair G. Smith

School of Information Management

Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand

Alastair.Smith@vuw.ac.nz

overview
Overview
  • Interactivity and synchronicity in distance learning
  • Compare modes of learning in interactivity/synchronicity grid
  • Synchronicity and interactivity are related
  • But online learning can have a high degree of interactivity without being synchronous
interactivity
Interactivity
  • Interactivity: extent to which a learning mode enhances interaction between the student and
    • the material being studied
    • the instructor(s)
    • other students.
synchronicity
Synchronicity
  • Synchronicity: extent to which a learning mode takes place in real time, i.e. instantaneously.
modes of instruction
Modes of instruction
  • Face to Face: high interactivity and synchronicity.
  • Correspondence learning: low interactivity and synchronicity.
  • Email discussion group: high interactivity despite low synchronicity.
  • Interactivity between instructor and learner a critical success factor in online learning (Doherty 2001)
asynchronous advantage
Asynchronous Advantage?
  • Experienced distance educators prefer asynchronous mode (Soo & Bonk, 1998)
  • Students studying by asynchronous learning completed assignments in 25% less time than synchronous (Wright, Marsh, & Miller, 2000)
  • Asynchronous learning environment facilitated student learning communities for distance learning(Kochtanek & Hein, 2000)
interactivity sychronicity
Interactivity/Sychronicity
  • Modes are not on a continuum
  • Can compare in two dimensions
    • X: interactivity
    • Y: synchronicity
interactivity sychronicity grid

High synchronicity

Audio

Conferencing

1:many

Video conferencing1:many

Audio

Conferencing

Many:many

Video conferencing Many:many

F2F class

Chat

Wimba discussion board

Email list

Online Forum

1:1 email

Low synchronicity

Print materials

Interactive digital tutorial

Low interactivity

High Interactivity

Interactivity/Sychronicity Grid
interact with technology rather than material
Interact with technology rather than material?
  • “Communication apprehension” (Monson, Wolcott, & Seiter, 1999)
  • “medium interfered with the message”(Manuel, 2001)
  • Print-based material delivered online when physical delivery of hard copy would be more appropriate
email
Email
  • Asynchronous, but can be highly interactive
  • Asynchronicity aids time shifting for working students
discussion forums
Discussion forums
  • Intermediate synchronicity
  • Can integrate with learning materials in WBLEs
  • Can have multiple views
  • But require motivation
  • Audio voice boards: asynchronous, but enhanced interactivity
virtual classrooms
Virtual classrooms
  • Text based, but synchronous
  • Online whiteboards etc enhance interactivity
  • synchronicity and interactivity higher than email and forums
audioconferencing and videoconferencing
Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Long history
  • Fully synchronous
  • Many-to-many: high interactivity
  • May be less interactive than Virtual Classroom/Chat where student can contribute at any time.
digital interactive tutorials
Digital interactive tutorials
  • Asynchronous, but can be highly interactive
advantages of asynchronicity
Advantages of asynchronicity
  • Study at evenings and weekends
  • Time zones.
  • Less assertive students contribute, don’t have to wait for gaps in discussions.
  • Students who are slower at expressing themselves: disabilities, EFL
  • Asynchronous discussions: contributions more considered, research
  • Asynchronous discussions can be assessed for credit
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Interactivity/synchronicity gridenables enables analysis of specific mode in terms of interaction, synchronicity
  • In asynchrous modes, utilise features that promote interactivity
  • Online learning not about reproducing the traditional F2F environment, but about utilising technology appropriately