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The article provides an in-depth analysis of previous lit- erature that led to the understanding of the four interac- tive components of "e" learning and how we can utilize these components to maximize the positive and mini- mize the negative results of "e" learning. The four inter- active dimensions of "e" learning are the following three originally described in Moore's editorial (1989): (1) inter- action with the content, (2) interaction with the instruc- tor, (3) interaction with the students, and an additional new fourth dimension, interaction with the system, which considered all of the new computer technology since his article. In our viewpoint we will highlight the impact that this fourth technological interactive dimen- sion has on the results of "e" learning. The question then is not "to 'e' or not to 'e'," since "e" learning is al- ready an essential factor of our contemporary learning environment. The question is how to "e", based on the understanding of the four interactive components of "e" learning, and the understanding that these four types of interactions are different from the ones we are accus- tomed to in the traditional learning environment.
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JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 57(3):299–305, 2006
The article provides an in-depth analysis of previous lit-
erature that led to the understanding of the four interac-
tive components of “e” learning and how we can utilize
these components to maximize the positive and mini-
mize the negative results of “e” learning. The four inter-
active dimensions of “e” learning are the following three
originally described in Moore’s editorial (1989): (1) inter-
action with the content, (2) interaction with the instruc-
tor, (3) interaction with the students, and an additional
new fourth dimension, interaction with the system,
which considered all of the new computer technology
since his article. In our viewpoint we will highlight the
impact that this fourth technological interactive dimen-
sion has on the results of “e” learning. The question
then is not “to ‘e’ or not to ‘e’,” since “e” learning is al-
ready an essential factor of our contemporary learning
environment. The question is how to “e”, based on the
understanding of the four interactive components of “e”
learning, and the understanding that these four types of
interactions are different from the ones we are accus-
tomed to in the traditional learning environment.
Introduction
Although studies and statistics show that between 20 and
30% of those students who begin a distance-learning1course
do not finish it (Kearsley, & Lynch 1996; Rovai, 2002; San
Francisco State University, 20032), in the last few years
there has been sharp growth in the size of the distance-
learning market (Educational News, 2002; Fry, 2001; Little,
2001; Picciano, 2002; Schoech, 2000).
Researchers have considered and analyzed different
aspects of the distance-learning format of education, as
compared with traditional “face-to-face” delivery, yet many
issues relating to distance learning remain unanswered, and
others still require significantly more research.
One of the most important factors relating to e-learning is
the element of interaction (Moore, 2001; Picciano, 2002).
Interaction in the context of distance learning has tradition-
ally been divided into the following three categories, as
introduced by Moore (1989): (a) Interaction with content;
(b) interaction with the instructor; and (c) interaction with
the students. A fourth category of interaction should be iden-
tified, considered, and analyzed in the context of e-learning.
This fourth category, which we refer to as interaction with
the system, plays an important role in the learning process in
general, and in the e-learning process in particular.
The amount of student interaction is seen as likely
to improve distance-learners’ educational experience
(Andrusyszn, Iwasiw, & Goldenberg, 1999; Wright,
Marsh, & Miller, 200). Therefore, it is important for instruc-
tors to develop means of creating dialogue with the students.
In this article, we will first present the general benefits of
distance learning. We will then briefly examine the phenom-
enon of dissatisfaction with e-learning courses, from the
students’ perspective. Our examination will suggest that the
main factor which influences the students’ satisfaction or
dissatisfaction with a distance-learning course is the “inter-
action” factor. We will then consider this factor in more
detail, taking into account the four different types of interac-
tion. Thereafter, we will introduce a model, which clarifies
the relationship between the different types of interaction.
The Benefits of e-Learning
The benefits of e-learning have been discussed in many
articles (Carswell, Thomas, Petre, Price, & Richards, 2000;
Little, 2001; Shotsberger, 2000). In a survey we conducted,3
university students who participated in distance-learning
courses cited the following advantages of e-learning:
Freedom to decide when each lesson will be learned
Lack of dependence on the time constraints of the lecturer
Freedom to express thoughts, and ask questions, without
limitations
Interaction in Distance-Learning Courses
Dan Bouhnik and Tali Marcus
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. E-mail: danb@moreshet.co.il
Received April 5, 2004; revised April 12, 2004; accepted January 19, 2005
© 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published online 23 November 2005 in
Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/asi.20277
1In this paper, the terms distance learning, distance education,
e-learning, and online learning will be used interchangeably.
2For example, the San Francisco State University Online experienced
high incomplete rates of 20% versus on-campus rates of approximately 5%.
(Retrieved November 26, 2003, from http://online.sfsu.edu/dereport.htm.)
3The survey was conducted as part of the research which was carried out
in the framework of a master’s thesis (Marcus, 2003). The research group
that was surveyed was comprised of 130 students who participated in fully
online, asynchronized courses at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
300 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY—February 1, 2006
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The e-learning context is conducive to the teacher providing
satisfactory responses to his or her students’ queries
The manner in which the content is presented makes it con-
venient to review lessons previously learned
The accessibility to, and availability of, the course’s subject
matter, as well as related materials which the student may
explore at his own election, contribute to self-learning and
the student’s development of independent ideas, and are also
useful in allowing the working student to utilize his newly-
acquired knowledge in parallel to, and in conjunction with,
his employment tasks.
The perceived benefits of e-learning which are listed
above can roughly be categorized as follows:
1. Flexibility of the material and the time
2. Accessibility to the material
3. Visibility of the multimedia
4. Availability of the data
More than anything else (34.8% in our research), flexibil-
ity is what makes e-learning programs attractive to the learn-
ers (Schoech, 2000).
In distance-learning courses students can take courses
from preferred locations that are convenient for their sched-
ules. This advantage is appealing to most adult learners
because it accommodates their work schedules and permits
flexibility to manage their family life (Kember, Lai, &
Murphy, 1994).
Students’ Dissatisfaction With e-Learning
It is important to note that despite the perceived benefits
of e-learning mentioned above, and notwithstanding the
growth of the e-learning market in recent years, research
indicates that a high rate of students who commence an e-
learning course do not finish it (Dutton & Perry, 2002;
Roblyer, 1999). This suggests that something is not working
properly in the e-learning system. By considering the re-
sponses of students who participated in an e-learning course,
we can better understand the reasons why students are often
dissatisfied with the distance-learning “experience.”
In the above-mentioned survey conducted by the authors
of this article (Marcus, 2003), students were asked to iden-
tify the primary disadvantages associated with the online
course in which they participated. They cited the following
disadvantages:
Lack of a firm framework—this tends to encourage laziness
A high level of self-discipline is required
Absence of a “learning atmosphere”
The distance-learning format minimizes the level of contact,
as well as the level of discussion, between the students
The learning process is less efficient, when compared to a
“face-to-face” learning format, and requires the students to
dedicate more time to learning the subject matter
Lack of interpersonal, direct (nonmediated) interaction
In answering his or her students’ questions, the teacher’s
ability to widen the scope of his or her answer is limited
The students’ responses are consistent with the results of
other studies that describe the disadvantages of e-learning
(Carswell et al., 2000; Ingram & Sandelands, 2001; Little,
2001). Certain researchers have attempted to identify partic-
ular student characteristics or other factors that can be used
to predict whether a student might drop out of, or otherwise
fail to achieve satisfactory results in, a distance-learning
course. Characteristics and other circumstances identified in
these studies include clarity of design, interaction with
instructors, and active discussion in the context of the course
(Swan, 2001); the lack of self-motivation and the inability to
structure one’s own learning (Roblyer, 1999); an absence of
previous experience with distance learning, homework com-
pletion, enrolled semester hours (students taking more hours
were significantly more likely to complete the course;
Dutton & Perry, 2002), and forced participation in distance
learning (as opposed to an election of the student to use the
distance-learning format; Roblyer, 1999).
As Kearsley (2000) asserts, although virtual classrooms
can be as varied as traditional classrooms, the virtual class-
room has a unique social, interaction context, which is very
different from that of the traditional, physical classroom. It
appears that learning to use the interaction-related tools that
the e-learning classroom offers can positively influence the
success and the satisfaction of the students who participant
in online courses.
Interaction and Learning
The invention of the telephone gave people the opportu-
nity to conduct “live” interaction from a distance. Undoubt-
edly, using the telephone was a strange form of communica-
tion for people who had never before used it. As it became
more and more widespread, the telephone allowed people to
recognize and become accustomed to this new type of inter-
action. Nowadays, talking on the telephone is an integral
part of our “interactive” lives, and it is viewed by everyone
as being a comfortable and accessible form of interaction
among people.
Similarly, e-learning is a foreign concept to many of us. It
presents a new type of interactive environment. Instinc-
tively, when we think about distance learning for the first
time, we may have a tendency to assume that it lacks an
interaction aspect. We are inclined to think about classroom
interaction as something that exists primarily face-to-face.
For this reason, it may seem to some of us that e-learning is
an inferior form of learning. However, as researchers dealing
with distance education have identified, it entails more inter-
action options than any other form of learning.
As mentioned above, in his article, “Three Types of Inter-
action” (1989), Moore identifies three kinds of interaction
that may affect learning in online courses: (a) Interaction
with content, (b) interaction with the instructor, and (c) in-
teraction with classmates. We will now examine Moore’s
three types, or dimensions, of interaction. Thereafter, we
will introduce a fourth dimension—interaction with the
system.
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY—February 1, 2006 301
DOI: 10.1002/asi
Interaction With Content
Moore’s first type of interaction takes place between the
student and the content, or the subject matter that is deliv-
ered to him or her. Interaction with content takes place when
the learner, with the help of the teacher or the teaching insti-
tution, establishes new knowledge by encountering new
information and combining it with the body of knowledge
already retained by him or her. Moore (1989) notes, that
without this type of interaction, there can be no education,
because the educational process entails the learner’s intellec-
tual interaction with content, which results in changes in the
learner’s understanding, the learner’s perspective, or the
cognitive structure of the learner’s mind.
Holmbarg (in Amundsen, 1993) views the process which
takes place within the learner as a form of communication
with the written text. He refers to this process as “a guided
didactic conversation,” which means that the learner is
actually involved and interacts with the text he is learning, as
well as with the author of the text.
In the distant past, prior to the invention of printing tech-
nology, interaction with content was generally possible only
in a direct, face-to-face teacher–pupil framework, which
allowed for the transfer of knowledge from the teacher to his
or her pupils. In the 19th century, improved print technology
combined with mass production paper—manufacture tech-
niques made interaction from a distance possible. Later on,
radio and the television created a new kind of interaction—
with broadcasted content. Presently, we are well acquainted
with modern interaction tools that utilize different multime-
dia techniques, and which can be exploited in a manner that
illustrates and clarifies the learning material.
Nevertheless, successful and proper exploitation of mul-
timedia e-learning techniques, such as the ability to access
material online, generally requires careful treatment and in-
creased attention. Otherwise, the students may encounter
significant difficulties, such as becoming overwhelmed and
confused by the amount and breadth of the information to
which they are exposed (Swan, 2001).
Also, in the modern era, when the daily schedule of the
working student is, in most cases, “tight,” and his election of
the distance-learning format is often based on the will to use
his or her time as efficiently as possible, it is crucial to
ensure that the content delivered to the student is relevant to,
and may be implemented and found useful in connection
with, his or her immediate needs, whether at his workplace
or elsewhere.
Choosing the proper form of interaction between the
student and the subject matter of the course will make
the learning experience more worthwhile and valuable for
the learner.
Interaction With the Teacher
The connection between student–instructor interactions
and learning outcomes in the traditional classroom environ-
ment is well documented. Educational researchers have
found that teachers’ verbal (i.e., giving praise, soliciting
viewpoints, humor, and self-disclosure) and nonverbal (i.e.,
physical proximity, touch, eye contact, facial expressions,
and gestures) immediacy behaviors can lessen the psycho-
logical distance between them and their students, thereby
leading to increased learning. Interactions with e-learning
instructors would appear to be important at least to the same
degree (Swan, 2001).
In his transactional distance theory, Moore (1980) posits
that the physical distance that exists in e-learning courses
between the teacher and the students may result in a psycho-
logical and communicational gap between them. Such a gap
will often impede the ability of the teacher and his or her
students to achieve the desired level of understanding
among them. In light of this, teachers and students partici-
pating in distance-learning courses will generally require
“special” behavioral patterns, which are designed to over-
come the communication gaps resulting from the transac-
tional distance.
The transactional distance theory posits that increasing
the dialog between the students and the teacher is an impor-
tant factor in bridging the gaps between them. Therefore,
distance-learning instructors should strive to ensure that a
maximum amount of dialog takes place in the courses that
they offer.
Moore further explains that when positive interaction
between the distance-learner and his or her teacher occurs,
the learner comes under the influence of the instructor. This
enables the student to draw on the experience of the instruc-
tor, which then permits the student to interact with the con-
tent in the manner which is most effective, taking into ac-
count his own personal needs and style. The instructor is
especially valuable in responding to the learner’s application
of new knowledge (Moore, 1989).
Additionally, in distance learning, the fact that the student
generally conducts his or her interaction with the materials
independently lessens the degree of the lecturer’s control
over the learning process of the student. In light of this, the
role and expertise of the lecturer in ensuring that the learning
process is efficient become extremely important. A correct
personal response of the lecturer to a student’s actions
should enable the student to create new knowledge and im-
plement it in other areas. Often, it is advisable for the lec-
turer to recommend specific articles which are not known to
the student, and which may assist the student in enhancing
and widening his knowledge (Moore, 1989).
Coppola, Hiltz, and Rotten (2001) claim that in any envi-
ronment, teachers have three types of roles: cognitive, effec-
tive, and managerial (or, as some researchers refer to it—
“teaching presence”). They found that, in the online
environment, the cognitive role shifts to one of deeper com-
plexity, which requires finding new tools.
In the e-learning context, the managerial role requires
greater attention to detail, more structure, and additional stu-
dent monitoring (Coppola et al., 2001). By using the special
tools that online technology offers, for example, to monitor
the students’ participation in the course, the instructor can
302 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY—February 1, 2006
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interact with the students in a manner which prevents them
from “getting lost.”
Moore (1989) claims that especially in distance educa-
tion, when the instructor has to deal with each student indi-
vidually, and each student’s response to a certain presenta-
tion differently, the instructor has a real opportunity to enter
into a dialog with each student.
By being aware of the importance of the interaction be-
tween them, the lecturer and the students should try to cope
with the difficulty that is created in a “faceless” distance-
learning situation, and should find ways to supplement and
replace the feeling of closeness that exists in a situation of
physical proximity.
The lecturer’s expertise in interacting with the students,
and the manner in which the interaction is carried out, is a
vital ingredient which allows for the creation of the third
type of interaction: learner–learner interaction.
Interaction With Classmates
Moore’s third type of interaction is interaction among the
students themselves (Moore, 1989). Recent studies have
shown that a basic element in traditional classroom learning
is communication among the students: the ability to ask
questions, to share ideas with others, or to disagree with oth-
ers is a basic need in the learning process. The fact that gaps
in one’s knowledge may be compensated for, and are com-
plemented by virtue of, the knowledge of such person’s
classmates, constitutes an important advantage of learning in
a group (Picciano, 2002). Moreover, people who work to-
gether provide social and emotional support to each other
(Haythornthwaite, 2001).
Certain researchers have suggested that asynchronous
forms of media which support fewer effective communica-
tion channels are less capable of representing the “social
presence” of participants in courses which are based on
such forms (Short, Williams, & Christie 1976 as cited in
Swan, 2001). However, more recent researchers contest this
view, arguing that computer-mediated communication can
offer “social presence” (Walther, 1994 as cited in Swan,
2001) Distance education courses offer interaction among
peers by using tools such as e-mail, online conferences, and
chat rooms. In the new model of asynchronous distance
learning courses, interactions among students through dis-
cussion groups seem to be one of the most influential
features. Participants’ interaction with one another within a
learning community can allow them to overcome their iso-
lation and strengthen their relationship with the group
(Trentin, 1998). Different research studies (Lai, 1997;
Klemm & Snell, 1996; Jonassen & Kwon, 2001) assert also
that subjects that involve discussion, brainstorming, and
reflection are best suited to the online format—despite the
fact that online discussions are significantly different from
face-to-face discussions. To begin with, all students have a
voice, and no student dominates the conversation. The
asynchronous nature of the discussion makes it impossible
for even the instructor to control it. Accordingly, many
researchers note that students perceive e-learning group dis-
cussions as more equitable and more democratic than tradi-
tional classroom discussions (Swan, 2001). Because it is
asynchronous, online discussion affords participants the op-
portunity to reflect on their classmates’ contributions while
creating their own, and on their own writing before posting
them (Jonassen & Kwon, 2001; Trentin, 1998; Vandergrift,
2002). This tends to encourage mindfulness among stu-
dents, as well as a culture of reflection. The interaction that
is established by computer-mediated communication en-
courages experimentation, sharing of ideas, increased and
more distributed participation, and collaborative thinking
(Trentin, 1998; Jonassen & Kwon, 2001). Various scholars
tie the success of online courses to the level of the discus-
sions that took place during the course. Picciano (2001), for
example, found that students’ perceived learning from an
online course was related to the amount of discussion which
actually took place in the course. Brown (2001) found that
the degree of community which was experienced by the stu-
dents was closely linked to the levels of their engagement in
the class and dialogue. Swan’s (2001) research results
showed that the greater the percentage of the course grade
that was based on discussion, the more satisfied the students
were, the more they thought they learned from the course,
and the more interaction they thought they had with the in-
structor and their peers. Such findings indicate that interac-
tion among students is an important factor in the success of
online courses.
On the other hand, other researchers who investigated
collaborative learning online, found it to be unsuccessful.
They suggest that asynchronous formats might not be appro-
priate for the negotiation of difficult issues which require
rapid turn taking in conversation and shared access to ob-
jects that cannot be easily referenced in electronic spaces
(Swan, 2001). Harasim (1986) and Bonk (2001) both assert
that the lack of nonverbal cues, the delays in receiving a
reply, and the lack of spontaneity as compared to a face-to-
face group that is gathered around a table, may have both ad-
vantages and disadvantages for the participants. In any case,
it is clear that online interaction differs in some important
ways from the face-to-face discussion.
In the distance-learning framework, the three types of
interaction discussed above—interaction with content, inter-
action between the students and the lecturer, and interaction
among the students—do not take place in “open space.” In
the virtual environment, more than any other environment,
the system in which the different types of interaction take
place, plays a major role.
Interaction With the System
Learning activities entail complex procedures of interac-
tions, and the benefits of the technological system can easily
be lost if that complexity is not appreciated, understood, and
dealt with in a satisfactory manner. It is clear that even when
the technology’s potential is utilized to its fullest, there is no
guarantee with respect to the quality of the added learning
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY—February 1, 2006 303
DOI: 10.1002/asi
that the technology-based interaction will bring to the learn-
ing process.
In parallel to the efforts to exploit modern technology for
implementing distance learning, there is a need to make sure
that the technology itself will remain transparent and will
not create a psychological or functional barrier. It can be ex-
pected that many of the e-learners will have difficulty in car-
rying out the psychological change that is required to pro-
ceed from studying face-to-face to studying online. It can
also be predicted that many e-students will require guidance
in the use of the new system. A study conducted by Kedar,
Baruch, and Gruvgald (2003) indicates that if the technolog-
ical and technical problems that the students encounter while
using the system are not solved immediately, this will reflect
negatively on the student’s level of satisfaction from the
e-learning system. Carswell and Venkatesh (2002) found
some support for their hypothesis that students’ perceptions
of the technology are positively related to learning outcomes
and an intention to further use the technology.
In light of the above, the necessity of building a support
system, with maximum accessibility, is apparent. In building
such a system, theories of innovation diffusion should be
employed.
The system itself may be viewed as a special environ-
ment which can establish new and different types of interac-
tion among the students. In a study conducted by Lawrence
and colleagues (2001), researching the aspect of human–
computer interaction on a group of students at Cornell Uni-
versity, they hypothesized that, as compared with a more
traditional approach to classroom teaching, a collaborative
learning environment would encourage the use of more so-
cial computing among students and group members. Social
computing was defined there as the use of social commu-
nicative tools such as e-mail, instant messaging, and chat.
Their conclusion was that mobile computing allows stu-
dents to engage in learning-related activities in diverse
physical locations, to work on projects supported by multi-
media resources, to communicate with distant collaborators,
and to access information networks anywhere and anytime.
Similarly, wireless computing technologies can potentially
enhance social learning. Such research has an impact on the
understanding of the place of the computer as a tool—a
system—and its implication on patterns of learning. The
computer, which is generally the medium for the delivered
content and delivered interaction in modern distance
learning courses, can establish a new type of interaction
that is not available in the traditional environment. For
example:
The availability of online data and multimedia is a new tool,
which should result in new thinking about how to design the
students’ assignments to maximize their benefits.
The accessibility of self and group data, both for the students
and for the instructor, when using an e-learning system,
offers the students and the instructor a new instrument for
interacting. This new implement can assist the teacher in
monitoring the students and their respective progress. It can
also play a positive role in allowing the students to experi-
ence the feeling of being part of a group. In addition, by
allowing each student to evaluate his or her achievements in
comparison to the classmates, it can encourage healthy am-
bitiousness among the students, thereby addressing one of
the main problems associated with distance learning—the
necessity for a high level of self-discipline.
In most systems, the discussion that is conducted in the
framework of the course is available for review by the
students at all times; the students can “go back in time”
and read any of the discussions which took place in the
past.
The use of e-mail can make it easier for the students to con-
tact the teacher or their classmates privately. This form of
interaction can be used when a student feels the need to
request more information, but prefers to do so on a one-on-
one basis, without disclosing his or her request to the other
participants in the course and without the need accommo-
date the schedule of the instructor’s office hours.
The above examples demonstrate how the unique fea-
tures of the computer-based, distance-learning “system” can
be exploited to enhance learning. Those are only four of
many examples which can be cited in this regard.
Based on his experience as an online course designer,
Gugliemo Trentin (1998) noted “The more easily environ-
ments can be structured to meet communication needs, the
more enjoyable and trouble-free participation in the course
will be.” (p. 36) Trentin listed the characteristics that a com-
puter conferencing system should possess to be suitable for
online education. His list includes issues relating to good
management and clear structure of the messages in the
discussion that is held (for example, management of links
between messages that belong to the same conference and
offering quick access to new messages), and other functions
that the system should offer, such as storage of material and
logs and statistics of user operations.
Educators must pay attention to what the system itself has
to offer, and to use it to influence, in a positive and construc-
tive manner, the three types of interaction identified by
Moore—interaction between the student and the content,
interaction between the student and the lecturer, and interac-
tion among the students—so that the apparent weaknesses of
the e-learning system will become it’s strengths.
Proposed Model
None of the four types of interaction functions indepen-
dently. To the contrary—they are closely interrelated. Inter-
action among students, for example, is supported by instruc-
tor facilitation and support, and because it centers on, and is
intertwined with the content of the course, can be considered
a series of content interactions. This is especially true in the
e-learning environment, where the different types of interac-
tion take place on the same medium, as is the case in elec-
tronic chats and discussion groups involving the teacher and
his or her students.
In light of the close relationship among them, the various
categories of interaction should be considered together.
304 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY—February 1, 2006
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They may be seen as interconnected roads on the e-learning
map.
The model depicted in Figure 1 emphasizes the connec-
tion between the four dimensions of interaction which take
place in distance-learning courses. In our model, the lecturer
is at the top of the learning pyramid, but in parallel to his or
her communication with the students, communication
among the students themselves is carried out. The lecturer
also participates in the interaction between the students.
Both of these types of interaction—teacher–student and
student–student—take place in, and are affected by, the “en-
vironment” of the course, which is determined by its content
and system.
Conclusion
In this article, we have examined the perceived benefits
and disadvantages of e-learning courses. The results of our
examination indicate that the key factor, which can make an
online course succeed or fail, is the element of interaction.
When interaction takes place successfully in an e-learning
course, the students benefit from the learning process, and
positive results are achieved. When the interaction aspect
“fails,” the students are dissatisfied with the distance-
learning course.
To be successful, e-learning instructors must overcome
psychological and communication gaps that may result from
the transactional distance associated with e-learning. Unlike
face-to-face courses, which are naturally associated with a
feeling of closeness, thereby encouraging interaction, dis-
tance-learning courses need to be carefully structured to
achieve a feeling of closeness. Ultimately, closeness is not
determined by geography, but rather by the relationship
between the participants, the dialog they conduct, and the
feelings they have towards each other and the educational
system in which they participate.
The interactive aspects of e-learning should be tailored to
meet the specific needs of the participants in the course
being considered. In structuring their distance-learning
courses, instructors need to consider the three types of
interaction identified by Moore: (a) Interaction with content,
(b) interaction with the instructor; and (3) interaction among
the classmates. Instructors should also consider the fourth
dimension of interaction identified in this article: interaction
with the system. By taking into account the four types of
interaction (as well as the connection between them) when
designing their e-learning courses, instructors can expect
to achieve better results. Optimally, those features of the e-
learning environment that are sometimes identified by stu-
dents as being negative factors can be transformed into the
unique benefits offered by the distance-learning format.
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... Other factors need to be explored so that improvements can be made to online learning. Previous research by Bouhnik and Marcus [4] revealed the factors causing dissatisfaction with e-learning, namely: lack of institutional support that encourages students to learn, the need for high self-discipline, there is no learning atmosphere in the system, distance learning systems reduce contact, discussion, between students and instructors, and a less efficient learning process. Other factors identified in previous studies are the clarity of design, interaction with instructors, and active discussion [7]. ...
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... These factors are personal and environmental such as 'the low of self-motivation, the complexity of understanding new topics without the instructor's instruction, and the absence of self-efficacy' in the e-learning use (Bouhnik & Marcus, 2006;Dutton, et al., 2001). ...
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