Modes of Interaction in Distance Education from Anderson and Garrison, (1998). 

Modes of Interaction in Distance Education from Anderson and Garrison, (1998). 

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No topic raises more contentious debate among educators than the role of interaction as a crucial component of the education process. This debate is fueled by surface problems of definition and vested interests of professional educators, but is more deeply marked by epistemological assumptions relative to the role of humans and human interaction in...

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... topic raises more contentious debate among educators than the role of interaction as a crucial component of the education process. This debate is fueled by surface problems of definition and vested interests of professional educators, but is more deeply marked by epistemological assumptions relative to the role of humans and human interaction in education and learning. The seminal article by Daniel and Marquis (1979) challenged distance educators to get the mixture right between independent study and interactive learning strategies and activities. They quite rightly pointed out that these two primary forms of education have differing economic, pedagogical, and social characteristics, and that we are unlikely to find a “perfect” mix that meets all learner and institutional needs across all curricula and content. Nonetheless, hard decisions have to be made. Even more than in 1979, the development of newer, cost effective technologies and the nearly ubiquitous (in developed countries) Net-based telecommunications system is transforming, at least, the cost and access implications of getting the mix right. Further, developments in social cognitive based learning theories are providing increased evidence of the importance of collaborative activity as a component of all forms of education – including those delivered at a distance. Finally, the context in which distance education is developed and delivered is changing in response to the capacity of the semantic Web (Berners-Lee, 1999) to support interaction, not only amongst humans, but also between and among autonomous agents and human beings. Thus, the landscape and challenges of “getting the mix right” have not lessened in the past 25 years, and, in fact, have become even more complicated. This paper attempts to provide a theoretical rationale and guide for instructional designers and teachers interested in developing distance education systems that are both effective and efficient in meeting diverse student learning needs. Interaction has long been a defining and critical component of the educational process and context. Yet it is surprisingly difficult to find a clear and precise definition of this multifaceted concept in the education literature. In popular culture, the use of the term to describe everything from toasters to video games to holiday resorts, further confuses precise definition. I have discussed these varying definitions at greater length in an earlier document (Anderson, 2003), and so will confine discussion here to an acceptance of Wagner’s (1994) definition as “reciprocal events that require at least two objects and two actions. Interactions occur when these objects and events mutually influence one another” (p. 8). This definition departs from Daniel and Marquis’s stipulation that interaction should refer “in a restrictive manner to cover only those activities where the student is in two-way contact with another person (or persons)” (Daniel and Marquis, 1988, p. 339). As was articulated by Moore (1989), and Juler (1990), and as I too will argue, interaction between students and content has long been recognized as a critical component of both campus-based and distance education. Interaction (or its derivative term interactivity) serves a variety of functions in the educational transaction. Sims (1999) has listed these functions as allowing for learner control, facilitating program adaptation based on learner input, allowing various forms of participation and communication, and as aiding the development of meaningful learning. In addition, interactivity is fundamental to creation of the learning communities espoused by Lipman (1991), Wenger (2001), and other educational theorists who focus on the critical role of community in learning. Finally, the value of another person’s perspective, usually gained through interaction, is a key learning component in constructivist learning theories (Jonassen, 1991), and in inducing mindfulness in learners (Langer, 1989). Interaction has always been valued in education. As long ago as 1916, John Dewey referred to a form of internal interaction as the defining component of the educational process that occurs when the student transforms the inert information passed to them from another, and constructs it into knowledge with personal application and value (Dewey, 1916). Later, from a distance education perspective, Holmberg (1989) argued for the superiority of individualized interaction between student and tutor when supported by written postal correspondence or via real time telephone tutoring. Holmberg also introduced us to the idea of simulated interaction that defines the writing style appropriate for independent study models of distance education programming, which he referred to as “guided didactic interaction.” Garrison and Shale (1990) defined all forms of education (including that delivered at a distance) as essentially interactions between content, students, and teachers. Laurillard (1997) constructed an ideal conversational model of learning applicable to all forms of education in which interaction between students and teachers plays the critical role. Finally, Bates (1990) argued that interactivity should be the primary criteria for selecting media for educational delivery. Thus, there is a long history of study and recognition of the critical role of interaction in supporting and even defining education. Despite the functional definitions of interaction listed above, it still remains a challenge to define when an interaction has pedagogical or educational value. Certainly not all interactions have formal educational value as illustrated by light social conversation in a pub, or the prescribed interaction between a pilot and an air-traffic controller. However, even those two examples can be the context in which informal learning by either or both parties occurs. For the purposes of this paper, I will distinguish between interaction leading to learning in any informal context and those types of interaction that occur in a formal education context. Informal interaction can, and often does, lead to learning outside of any influence of a formal education institution or accreditation process. However, interaction in formal education contexts is specifically designed to induce learning directed towards defined and shared learning objectives or outcomes. Interaction with a teacher is often an important component of a formal learning experience. However, since both formal and informal learning can result from interaction between and amongst students alone, or as result of interaction between student and content, the participation of a teacher cannot be a defining feature of an educational interaction. Further, it is obvious that there are qualitative differences in the quality and value of interaction as a contributor to learning in both formal and informal learning contexts. To simplify the arguments presented in this paper, I have not addressed these qualitative differences, although remind the reader that all types of interaction should be assessed by their contribution to the learning process. Anderson and Garrison (1998) described the three more common types of interaction discussed in the distance education literature involving students (student-student; student-teacher; student-content), and extended the discussion to the other three types of interaction (teacher-teacher; teacher-content; content-content) as shown in Figure 1. In Anderson (2003), I discussed the various costs, benefits, and research questions associated with each of these modes of interaction. I also suggested that due to the increasing computational power and storage capacity of computers (Moore’s Law), their increase in functionality when networked (Metcalfe’s Law), and related geometric increases in a host of technical developments (Kurzweil, 1999), there is pressure and opportunity to transform student-teacher and student-student interaction into enhanced forms of student-content interaction. Further, the development of programming tools and environments will continue to make this transformation easier and, in some cases, within the technical domain of non-programming teachers and subject matter experts. However, I have not clearly articulated a theoretical basis for judging the appropriate amounts of each of the various forms of possible interaction. After years of sometimes acrimonious debate, it seems clear that there is no single medium that supports the educational experience in a manner that is superior in all ways to that supported via other media. Clark’s (1994) and Kozma’s (1994) classic debate, and the long list of “no significant difference” studies compiled by Russell (2000), give evidence to a complicated interaction between content, student preference and need, institutional capacity and preference, and teaching and learning approaches to learning. Despite the high degree of rhetoric from constructivist and feminist educational theorists of the value of interaction in creating interdependence in the learning sequence (Kirkup and von Prummer, 1990; Litzinger, Carr and Marra, 1997), there is also evidence that many students deliberately choose learning programs that allow them to minimize the amount of student-teacher and student-student interaction required (May, 2003; Kramarae, 2003). Over the years, in my own distance teaching, I have been informally polling students about the relative advantage and disadvantage of various forms of mediated and face-to-face, synchronous and asynchronous, educational activities. From these polls, I conclude that there is a wide range of need and preference for different combinations of paced and un-paced, synchronous and asynchronous activity, and also a strong desire for variety and exposure to different modes and modularities of educational provision and ...

Citations

... Though it is surprising that peer engagement was a stronger factor than instructor engagement, peer engagement can enhance the sense of community and reduce isolation in online learning (Sharp and Huett, 2006). This is in alignment with Anderson's (2003) equivalency theorem which states that "Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student-teacher, student-student or student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience" (p. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this research study is to validate an instrument that measures the importance instructors and students place on online student engagement strategies. Design/methodology/approach The online student engagement strategies survey was completed by 160 faculty and 146 students. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and an exploratory factor analysis. The factor structure was examined using a principal component analysis with an oblique rotation. Findings Results show that the Online Engagement Strategies Questionnaire has a valid and reliable structure. Based on the exploratory factor analysis, four engagement constructs emerged including peer engagement, multimodal engagement, instructor engagement, and self-directed engagement. Results and discussion assist in identifying key engagement strategies within this online student engagement framework. Originality/value The validated instrument fills a gap in the literature, and it has value to practitioners, researchers, administrators and policy makers because it has practical applications.
... Moore's classification remains the most widely accepted framework for examining the interrelationships between these three types of interaction. Anderson (2003) further extended the theory. Anderson's interaction equivalency model argues that "deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (studentteacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level" (Anderson, 2003, p. 4). ...
Chapter
With the advancement of technology in recent decades, online learning is becoming increasingly popular.
... Interaction plays a critical role in supporting and even defining education (Anderson 2003;Xiao 2017). In formal distance education, students interact with course content, instructors and peers. ...
... The revolution brought about by the advent of digital technology in most areas of life is the different quality of interactivity which could conduct to deeper learning. Deeper and meaningful learning can occur when at least one of three forms of interaction is present at a high level: student-student, student-instructor, and student-content (Anderson, 2003). An online course designer can substitute one type of interaction for one of the others without degrading the satisfying educational experience and effectiveness. ...
Chapter
The educational philosophy of the 21st century focuses on three pedagogical principles: personalization, participation, and productivity. In our digital era, cutting-edge technologies support the application of those principles as learners face new challenges but at the same time, they are presented with new learning opportunities. In order to adapt, learners need to move away from passive learning techniques and discover how to apply critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity within the learning process, skills which often referred “the 4Cs”. When young people play online games, peer-to-peer collaboration is encouraged. When they actively participate and contribute their thoughts in web discussions, they actually evaluate the content and when other users decide to share and publish their content, they become “prosumers” (both consumers and producers) supporting this very important cycle of content creation. The dynamics of new interactive media support personal meaningful learning through collaboration, social interaction and shared knowledge building. In this work, a cultural heritage-oriented case study is presented in which we concentrate on contemporary transmedia learning approaches enable learners to engage in formal and informal learning environments, assume control of the process and interactively focus on aspects that cover their personal interests.
... despite spending less time on the LMS. The level of interactivity can be quantitatively determined by counting the number of times a student actively engages with the content, the teacher, or fellow students (Anderson, 2003). It can therefore also be quantified by determining the time students spend on the LMS. ...
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Learning is facilitated by participation and interaction and can be synchronously or asynchronously in online education. This study investigated the relationship between students’ academic success and online interaction and participation and explored their class attendance (synchronous virtual classes and/or watching the recorded virtual classes) in the online study mode of an enabling program at Southern Cross University in Australia. The Preparing for Success at SCU Program equips students with study skills for success at university. The data were retrieved from usage information data provided by the Blackboard Learn learning management system. The results show that it is important for students to attend class, but it does not necessarily make a difference whether students attend synchronous virtual classes or watch the recordings of the virtual classes. A significant relationship was found between academic success and the number of hours students participated in and interacted with the online learning system. Academic success may be increased by providing various options for students to participate and interact online, and to attend classes synchronously or asynchronously. The flexibility of online education can enable students to be successful in their studies. The inclusion of varied activities is therefore recommended to increase academic success in online education.
... Moore's classification remains the most widely accepted framework for other studies that basically focus on the interrelationships between these three types of interaction (Xiao, 2017). Among them, Anderson's (2003) equivalency theorem is of particular importance to the current study. ...
Article
Technology is ubiquitous in the modern world; to harness its educational potential in the quest to introduce environments that are flexible and differentiate for individual student learning needs, the strategic use of the complex array of tools is required. Engagement with this challenge has the potential to lead to the provision of interfaces that allow students to access these resources and become independent learners. It is therefore important to identify and evaluate the features of such interfaces to calibrate and respond to individual student needs. In this context, the quality of differentiated support for learning, referred to as scaffolding, is established as paramount to the design and structure of online environments. In this study, the instructional design referred to as predict, observe, explain and evaluate (POEE), informed by constructivist theories of learning, to implement multiple scaffolding strategies is described. The POEE scaffolding strategy was applied in the creation of two inquiry learning modules. Student engagement with these inquiry modules in a self-directed online environment was explored to identify critical elements of the scaffolding. The findings of this study, based on students' interactions and engagement with the learning modules, enabled the conceptualisation of a multimodal scaffolding strategy for self-directed inquiry. We propose that the recommendations from the implementation of these scaffolded learning modules can represent exemplars illustrative of an enriched instructional design paradigm to support students’ independent study in blended environments.
... Namun di era sekarang dimana teknologi sudah sedemikian berkembang, keempat kategori media tersebut dapat diintegrasikan fungsinya dalam satu media pembelajaran untuk memfasilitasi ketiga jenis interaksi dan menghadirkan ketiga komponen presence dalam CoI. Disamping itu dengan kemajuan teknologi, Anderson (2003a) bahkan berpendapat bahwa interaksi antara sesama peserta didik dan antara peserta didik dengan pengajar dapat disatukan dalam perancangan materi pembelajaran yang canggih. Artinya, menurut Anderson, perancangan materi pembelajaran jarak jauh yang baik dapat mengoptimalkan tidak saja interaksi antara peserta didik dengan materi, tetapi juga interaksi dengan pengajar dan sesama peserta didik lainnya. ...
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... Previous studies have classified student interactions into three types: student-student (SS), student-instructor (SI), and student-equipment (SE) (Anderson, 2003;Miyazoe, 2012). Recent studies (Lal et al., 2018;Wei et al., 2018) have added a fourth type termed indirect interaction (IndInt). ...
... Previous studies have classified student interactions into three types: student-student (SS), student-instructor (SI), and student-equipment (SE) (Anderson, 2003;Miyazoe, 2012). Recent studies ( Lal et al., 2018;Wei et al., 2018) have added a fourth type termed indirect interaction (IndInt). ...
... Therefore, there is the need for further studies on the effects of group composition and how it impacts on learning outcomes in technology-mediated collaborative learning settings. Anderson (2003) believes that informal interaction has the capability of leading to learning without any influence from a formal learning setting or variable. The effects of interaction amongst group members during technology-supported collaborative learning have been reported by studies. ...
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Recently, collaborative learning in informal learning settings has been gained increasing interest. This study reviewed 70 papers about technology-supported collaborative learning published from 2007 to 2018. The subjects, objects, rules, contexts, interactions, and tools were analyzed based on the adapted framework of activity theory. The results indicated that undergraduate and postgraduate students mainly participated in technology-supported collaborative learning in the past 12 years. Mixed learning outcomes in natural science learning domains were the major learning objectives. In terms of rules, most studies adopted mixed collaborative learning methods and provided guidance for students. However, no rewards were provided in most studies. In addition, most studies mainly occurred in online learning community or after-school clubs. Technology-mediated interactions were generally adopted and participants mainly interacted with group members. In terms of trends of technology-supported collaborative learning, the findings revealed that the increasing trends in the higher education level and large sample size were found from 2013 to 2018. More and more studies focused on engineering design tasks and adopted self-selected heterogeneous groups. Mixed hardware and software with mixed functionalities significantly increased from 2013 to 2018. The findings were discussed in depth, together with implications and recommendations for future studies.