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Interaction & Participation in Live Online Teaching

An amalgamation of two papers on Medium Naturalness Theory, learner personality traits, and synchronous e-learning, this Byte-Sized explores learner interaction and participation in live online teaching, attempting to understand its nature and improve its effectiveness.  Zoom was used as the platform, enabling natural and spontaneous communication, and participants learning behaviours and personalities were scrutinised to understand variations between extroversion and introversion, and emotional stability and neuroticism.

Abstract

  • 2017 Paper - How do medium naturalness and personality traits shape academic achievement and perceived learning? An experimental study of face-to-face and synchronous e-learning

    • This controlled experiment examined how academic achievement and cognitive, emotional and social aspects of perceived learning are affected by the level of medium naturalness (face-to-face, one-way and two-way videoconferencing) and by learners’ personality traits (extroversion–introversion and emotional stability–neuroticism). The Media Naturalness Theory explains the degree of medium naturalness by comparing its characteristics to face-to-face communication, considered to be the most natural form of communication. A total of 76 participants were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions: face-to-face, one-way and two-way videoconferencing. E-learning conditions were conducted through Zoom videoconferencing, which enables natural and spontaneous communication.  Findings shed light on the trade-off involved in media naturalness: one-way video-conferencing, the less natural learning condition, enhanced the cognitive aspect of perceived learning but compromised the emotional and social aspects. Regarding the impact of personality, neurotic students tended to enjoy and succeed more in face-to-face learning, whereas emotionally stable students enjoyed and succeeded in all of the learning conditions. Extroverts tended to enjoy more natural learning environments but had lower achievements in these conditions. In accordance with the ‘poor get richer’ principle, introverts enjoyed environments with a low level of medium naturalness. However, they remained focused and had higher achievements in the face-to-face learning.

  • 2018 Paper - How do medium naturalness, teaching-learning interactions and Students' personality traits affect participation in synchronous E-learning?

    • This study explores students' participation in synchronous e-learning interactions to understand its nature and improve its effectiveness. An innovative synchronous videoconferencing technology was used to examine the assumptions of the Medium Naturalness Theory (Kock, 2005), which compares the characteristics of different media to face-to-face communication, having the highest degree of naturalness. The data was collected in two settings: (1) a controlled lab experiment (76 participants), in which teaching-learning interactions were compared across three communication channels (face-to-face, one-way and two-way synchronous lessons) and (2) synchronous lessons in real-life academic courses (87 participants). Four factors that play a major role in participation in online discussions were examined: medium naturalness, teaching-learning style, personality traits (extroversion-introversion and emotional stability-neuroticism), and the growing acquaintance between participants as the course progresses. The findings of Study 1 revealed passive learning behavior among the majority of participants, who tended not to interrupt the instructor's lecture, spontaneously ask questions, or initiate interactions. However, participation was much higher and more frequent when the instructor explicitly encouraged the students to participate, comment, and ask questions. As for the effect of personality traits, extroverts spoke more in almost all types of teaching-learning interactions; however, no effect was found for emotional stability-neuroticism. Consistent with the findings of the first study, the findings of Study 2 indicated that transferring the responsibility for learning from the instructor to the students, by allowing them to “lead” the lesson, promoted their participation and initiation of interactions. We discuss the implications for theory and design of synchronous interactions.

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About the Author:

Orli Weiser

Orli is a doctoral candidate at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.  She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Computer Science from Bar-Ilan University and a M.A. with summa cum laude in Learning Technologies and Networks from The Open University of Israel.  Her primary research interests are Technological innovations in learning and teaching and Data Analytics Competencies.  Orli works as database administrator and volunteers in the "Ma'avarim" project, a supportive environment for research students.