An interaction is defined as “a reciprocal action or influence of two things, two people.” Learning and teaching involve several forms of interaction between different actors. In pedagogy, this subject has been studied from several viewpoints and has given rise to various theories, with the growth of online learning adding a new dimension to them. Here is an overview of what these 6 particular forms of interaction look like in an online learning context.

1. Learner-Teacher

The learner-teacher interaction allows the teacher to help the learner understand the concepts in the program, identify difficulties and stimulate critical thinking.

In online training, both parties must be perfectly comfortable with the technological environment and the communications tools that allow them to interact.

The keyword of this interaction: support

2. Learner-Learner

With the growing popularity of active pedagogy (or experiential learning), the learner-learner interaction is increasingly valued. It has been shown that social interaction promotes learning and has a positive impact on motivation, on the feeling of connection with peers, on the performance in the workplace and the general satisfaction of learners.

In the online learning context, where everyone spends their time most often alone in front of their screen, the learner-learner interaction is of great benefit.

The keyword of this interaction: implication

3. Teacher-Teacher

The teacher-teacher interaction is essential for the development of the profession as a whole. In the context of the digital revolution in which education and the role of the teacher are to be transformed, the dialogue between the actors in the field is more necessary than ever. Moreover, we now enter an age where collaboration becomes a fundamental value.

The new means of communication have the advantage of eliminating borders and allowing exchange, but also to design of original and effective interactive activities to stimulate collegiality and create team projects.

The keyword of this interaction: collaboration

4. Learner-Content

When the learners are actively engaged with the content or learning material and assimilate it, then we can speak of a “learner-content interaction.” The objectives of this interaction have been defined as follows (Turoff, Hiltz and Balasubramanian, 1994): forming degrees of agreement or disagreement with the material; seeking or reaching an understanding of the material; relating it to what one already knows (or doesn’t know); realizing confusions and lack of understandings that need further pursuit.

Online training allows the use of the latest educational and technological advances to design adapted solutions that reinforce the learner’s commitment to content.

The keyword of this interaction: commitment

5. Teacher-Content

In traditional higher education, teacher-content interaction occurs both when the teacher prepares a course and when they engage in research activities. At the rate at which knowledge is advancing, today’s teachers must also be up to speed with the latest research on a regular basis. They are required to guide the learners through this sea of information that is now accessible to us and to develop their critical thinking about this overflow of content.

With online learning, teacher-content interaction is transformed by the development of new ways to present the subject. The need to adapt the content of traditional courses to the particularities and tools of eLearning has created a new intermediary in the teacher-content interaction: the instructional designers.

The keyword of this interaction: adaptation

6. Content-content

The content-content interaction in learning is not only very real, but it is a way forward. With advances in artificial intelligence, adaptive hypermedia research and the rise of big data, personalized training is moving into second gear with intelligent adaptive learning.

This new form of online learning makes it possible to generate in real-time, for each learner, the learning path that is most likely to help them achieve their objectives.

The keyword of this interaction: smart adaptive

Catherine Meilleur

Catherine Meilleur

Communication Strategist and Senior Editor @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi

Catherine Meilleur has over 15 years of experience in research and writing. Having worked as a journalist and educational designer, she is interested in everything related to learning: from educational psychology to neuroscience, and the latest innovations that can serve learners, such as virtual and augmented reality. She is also passionate about issues related to the future of education at a time when a real revolution is taking place, propelled by digital technology and artificial intelligence.