An Experimental Study of Instructor Immediacy


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Lorah Bodie: An Experimental Study of Instructor Immediacy in the Wimba Virtual Classroom

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  • Approach-Avoidance theory “people approach what they like and avoid what they don’t like”
    St. Johns is a Catholic University in NY
  • An Experimental Study of Instructor Immediacy

    1. 1. 11 An Experimental Study of Instructor Immediacy in the Wimba Virtual Classroom By: Lorah W. Bodie, Ed.D. May 26, 2010
    2. 2. 22 Social Aspects of Learning  Generally, learning takes place in social environments.  Relations with others affect cognitive understanding and knowledge construction (Richardson & Swan, 2003).  Due to the social nature of learning, it is important to understand how people experience being present in web- based settings, and how they form relationships and build community.
    3. 3. 33 Presence and Social Presence  Presence: A sense of “being there” in a mediated environment (Biocca, Kim, & Levy (1993).  Social Presence: The ability of participants to project their personal characteristics into in a community of inquiry, so as to be perceived as real people to their peers (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). Components of social presence include the amount of information transmitted, words conveyed, verbal and non- verbal immediacy cues, and the context of the communication.
    4. 4. 44 Immediacy Immediacy - Behaviors that serve to enhance interaction and closeness with another (Mehrabian, 1969). He grounded the immediacy concept in approach-avoidance theory. Immediacy is created in part by:  Nonverbal cues – include smiling, a relaxed body posture, gestures, making eye contact, smiling at students...  Verbal cues – include utilizing humor, calling students by their first name, praising students’ work, use of inclusive pronouns… Dr. Kelly Rocca (St. John’s University) on Immediacy in the Classroom –
    5. 5. 55 Media Richness  Media Richness – Daft and Lengel (1984) Communications media have varying capacities for resolving ambiguity, negotiating interpretation, and facilitating understanding.  Basic Assumption - Performance improves when communicators use “richer” media for equivocal tasks.
    6. 6. 66 Media Richness (cont’d) Degree of “richness” is based on the capacity of the medium to:  Facilitate instant feedback,  Transmit multiple verbal and nonverbal (immediacy) cues,  Allow for the use of natural language, and  Convey a personal focus. Hierarchy - richest to leanest (Newberry, 2001)  Face-to-face  Synchronous video  Synchronous audio  Text-based chat  Email/asynchronous audio  Threaded discussion
    7. 7. 77 Gaps in the Research Base 1. Few studies have been done in web-based educational settings to assess immediacy and learning outcomes. 2. Few studies have utilized experimental or quasi- experimental research designs to guide the research process. 3. Few studies have assessed cognitive learning gains. 4. Retention of learning gains (over even short periods of time) has received very little attention.
    8. 8. 88 Design Elements  The study replicated design elements utilized by Witt (2000) and Schutt (2007), the key element being the use of pre-recorded teaching segments where instructor immediacy was manipulated to create higher and lower conditions.  In addition, two different sets of communications media were used; a rich media combination, and a leaner media set. The concept of immediacy was operationalized as having two dimensions: Instructor behaviors and communication media, with the primary dimension (verbal and nonverbal immediacy behaviors) carrying greater weight than the secondary dimension (the medium by which the instructor interjected herself). Treatment Group 1 - Higher-immediacy, w/video & text-chat (Hi-Vid) Treatment Group 2 - Higher-immediacy, w/still photo & text-chat (Hi-Stil) Treatment Group 3 - Lower-immediacy, w/video & text-chat (Lo-Vid) Treatment Group 4 - Lower-immediacy, w/still photo & text-chat (Lo-Stil)
    9. 9. 99 This Study This experimental study explored the following: RQ1: How do students perceive immediacy? RQ2: How does immediacy influence cognitive learning? RQ3: How does immediacy influence perceived learning? RQ4: How does immediacy influence satisfaction with teaching? The overall hypothesis was that higher-immediacy instructor behaviors with full video of the instructor would result in higher perceptions of immediacy and greater levels of cognitive learning, perceived learning, and satisfaction with teaching.
    10. 10. 1010 Teaching Sessions Topic: Cognitive Dissonance Theory – Main tenants can be covered in a 15- minute session, examples easily relate to real life situations, introductory for the discipline, approved by course instructor. Guest Instructor: Carla Mathison, Ph.D. – Professor/Co-Director of Teacher Education here at SDSU. She is also the faculty liaison for the School In The Park program, and designer of Armaiti Island (an electronic simulation designed for professional educators). Treatments: Simulated synchronous teaching sessions with an instructor and six mock students conducted in the Wimba Virtual Classroom, with the goal of maximizing treatment differences while remaining believable. Group 1 (Higher Immediacy with full video) Group 2 (Higher Immediacy with still photo) Group 3 (Lower Immediacy with full video) Group 4 (Lower Immediacy with still photo)
    11. 11. 1111 Population and Sample  Participants were recruited from two 500-seat sections of an undergraduate psychology course that met twice weekly (T-TH), in the fall of 2008.  One section was delivered in a traditional F2F manner in a high- end technology-infused classroom (AL-201); the other was blended—where one weekly class was delivered F2F and the other was a synchronous session delivered in a Wimba Virtual Classroom. Both sections were taught by the same instructor.  A total of 35 sessions were run over the 3-week period (Oct.17- Nov.7, 2008), resulting in 599 participants; 23 records were unusable resulting in 576 usable records for analysis.
    12. 12. 1212 Instrumentation  Demographic measures (age, gender, ethnicity)  Immediacy (17 verbal & 11 nonverbal items)  Pretest of cognitive learning (7 items)  Posttest of cognitive learning (7 items)  Delayed posttest of cognitive learning (7 items)  Perceived learning (3 items)  Satisfaction with the teaching session (4 items)
    13. 13. 1313 Data Collection 1. Students signed up for small group sessions through a web-based research participation system (Sona Systems Ltd.) 2. The sessions were held in a computer lab (LS-27) equipped with new iMac computers where participants sat at individual workstations with headsets. 3. Upon arrival, participants drew a randomizer chip from a canister, selected a workstation, and reviewed and signed the Informed Consent Document. 4. Then they followed the link for their respective treatment group, and entered a password from the back of the randomizer chip.
    14. 14. 1414 Results RQ1: How do students perceive immediacy? Mean Scores for Perceived Immediacy Verbal Non-Verbal Combined Group 1 (Hi/Vid) (n=145) 53.36 43.13 96.49 Group 2 (Hi/Stil) (n=154) 51.13 25.90 76.86 Group 3 (Lo/Vid) (n=135) 35.08 17.78 52.73 Group 4 (Lo/Stil) (n=142) 37.62 18.18 55.80 Total n=576 Only pair not sig. dif. 1 & 2 3 & 4 3 & 4 (p=.06) (p=.96) (p=.19)
    15. 15. 1515 Results cont. RQ2: How does immediacy influence cognitive learning? Repeated Measures ANOVA for Pre/Post/Delayed tests by Treatment Group Gain Loss Gain T-Group Pretest Posttest Delayed Pre/Pst Pst/Del Pre/Del Group 1 (n=110) 1.83* 4.65* 3.26 2.82 1.39 1.43 Group 2 (n=124) 2.24* 4.39 3.24 2.15 1.15 1.00 Group 3 (n=112) 2.04 4.33 3.13 2.29 1.20 1.09 Group 4 (n=114) 2.00 4.18* 3.21 2.18 .97 1.21 Total n=460 * Means were significantly different
    16. 16. 1616 Summary and Implications Key points:  All groups improved pre to post for cognitive learning  Group 1 (Hi-Vid) was lowest at pretest & highest at posttest  All groups declined post to delayed, but still sig. pre to delayed  Higher-immediacy groups (1 & 2) rated higher on all measures than lower-immediacy groups (3 & 4)  Group 1 (Hi-Vid) rated consistently the highest on all measures  Lower-immediacy groups (3 and 4) very close on all measures & in some cases Group 4 (Lo-Stil) had higher scores than Group 3  With higher-immediacy, delivery method did seem to make a difference, but with lower-immediacy this didn’t seem to be the case.
    17. 17. 1717 Suggestions for Future Research  Address limitations of the current study - Longer sessions, multiple sessions, real-time participation, & topics across disciplines  Add a F2F condition  Evaluate other communication media  Conduct a factor analysis for immediacy items  Study gender differences
    18. 18. 1818 Questions… Questions?