Online learning: 6 types of interactions at play

Learning and teaching involve several forms of interaction between different actors. An interaction is defined as “a reciprocal action or influence of two things, two people.” 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 are 6 types of interactions inherent to learning and teaching, and their specifics in the context of online education.

1. Learner-Teacher

The learner-teacher interaction allows the teacher to help the learner to: understand the course’s concepts, identify difficulties and stimulate critical thinking. If necessary, the teacher will adjust his pedagogical approach.

In online training, it is essential that both parties are perfectly comfortable with the technological environment and the communications tools that allow them to interact (see Tips for hosting successful live online sessions).

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 (see Does a sense of community matter in online training?).

In the context of online learning, where everyone spends their time most often alone in front of their screen, the learner-learner interaction is of great benefit. Fortunately, online training now has tools that can make the interaction between learners more attractive and useful, whether it is for exchanging ideas, collaborating, launching initiatives, or helping one another.

Wikis, for example, are perfect for collaborative work, because they allow learners to collaborate and share information that will help them develop their own content.

Vanessa McCance, Content Strategist at KnowledgeOne

According to Vanessa McCance, Content Strategist at KnowledgeOne, these interactive collaboration tools must be chosen in accordance with the nature of the work assigned to the learners and aligned with the intended learning objectives: “Wikis, for example, are perfect for collaborative work, because they allow learners to collaborate and share information that will help them develop their own content. Media sharing tools give learners the opportunity to share their completed projects, to comment on and even to vote on other people’s work. As for Twitter, it is a great tool that encourages and facilitates discussions and debates between learners … provided that the invitation to exchange ideas are strategically integrated into the course and, of course, related to the content! ”

The keyword of this interaction: the 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 (see 4 challenges for education in the digital revolution era). Moreover, we now enter an age where collaboration becomes a fundamental value (see Collaborative Learning: Myth Or Reality?).

Also, the new means of communication have the advantage of eliminating borders and allowing exchange – at low cost and without having to travel – with a considerably larger community. They also enable the 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 they 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.

Every solution, every tool available in online training offers unique opportunities to enhance the way the learners perceive the content and interact with it.

Vanessa McCance, Content Strategist at KnowledgeOne

For meaningful learner-content interaction to occur, it is essential that the learner actively engages in the learning process, trying to understand and assimilate the study materials. Online training allows the use of the latest educational and technological advances to design adapted solutions that reinforce the learner’s commitment to content: gamification or serious games, virtual reality, augmented reality, micro-learning (see 4 reasons to opt for micro-learning), personalized training, adaptive learning (see Intelligent Adaptive Learning: Everyone’s Training and 8 key elements of learner engagement).

In this regard, Vanessa McCance explains: “Every solution, every tool available in online training offers unique opportunities to enhance the way the learners perceive the content and interact with it. The branching scenarios, for example, allow them to learn in situations that simulate real-life instances and concretely demonstrate the impact of their decision making. Serious games, as a different example, are becoming more and more popular, and stimulate the learner’s interest in the content by transforming it into something more engaging, such as a fantasy story to be discovered or a challenge to be overcome in order to advance on a path.”

The keyword of this interaction: the commitment

5. Teacher-Content

In traditional higher education, teacher-content interaction occurs both when the teacher prepares a course and when he or she engages in research activities. At the rate at which knowledge is advancing, today’s teacher must also be up to speed with the latest research, on a regular basis. He or she 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.

The social Web 2.0 revolution and the information and communication technologies have allowed the teachers’ work to spread beyond the classroom. Thus, when their courses are available online, this allows an extended audience, including their colleagues, to learn about their content choices, their pedagogical approaches as well as their communication skills.

This reality can have the effect of stimulating teachers, allowing them to share their methods and opening up more conversations to advance their career.

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. Their intervention on the content and its presentation are essential to creating a learner commitment to the content of the online course, in other words, to allow meaningful learner-content interaction.

The keyword of this interaction: adaptation

6. Content-content

This association may seem surprising at first … but it will have to be done since the content-content interaction in learning is not only very real, but it is a way forward. As we explain in the article Intelligent Adaptive Learning: Everyone’s Training, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI), research on adaptive hypermedia 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 he or she achieve his/her objectives. It is not only the content of the course that can be adapted “intelligently” for each learner, but also its presentation as well as navigation.

The keyword of this interaction: smart adaptive

Source: Based on the types of interactions as defined by Anderson and Garrison in Learning in a networked world: New roles and responsibilities

The social Web 2.0 revolution and the information and communication technologies have allowed the teachers’ work to spread beyond the classroom. Thus, when their courses are available online, this allows an extended audience, including their colleagues, to learn about their content choices, their pedagogical approaches as well as their communication skills.

Catherine Meilleur

Author:
Catherine Meilleur

Creative Content Writer @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi.

2018-11-06T15:32:04+00:002018/11/06|Articles, Catherine Meilleur|0 Comments

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