Jason Rhode Dissertation Overview

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Overview of the dissertation of Jason F. Rhode, Ph.D. entitled, "Interaction Equivalency in Self-Paced Online Learning Environments: An Exploration of Learner Preferences"

Overview of the dissertation of Jason F. Rhode, Ph.D. entitled, "Interaction Equivalency in Self-Paced Online Learning Environments: An Exploration of Learner Preferences"

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  • 1. Interaction equivalency in self-paced online learning environments: An exploration of learner preferences Dissertation Defense Jason F. Rhode 1/17/2008
  • 2. Jason F. Rhode
    • Ph.D. candidate, Capella University
    • Specialization: Instructional Design for Online Learning
  • 3. Introduction interaction self-paced learning emerging communication approaches
  • 4. Background
    • Substance and function of online interactions varies
    • Interaction is essential for a quality learning experience
    • Unanswered questions concerning learners’ interaction preferences and degree in which interactions are perceived to be equivalent
  • 5. Statement of the Problem
    • Interaction identified as a key element to successful online learning programs
    • Little empirical evidence currently exists as to the value that learners place upon various types of interactions in a self-paced learning environment
  • 6. Types of Interactions
  • 7. Interaction Equivalency Theorem
  • 8. Purpose of the Study
    • Expand upon previous research advocating for purposeful design of interaction
    • Examine the composition of the online learning experience of adult learners in self-paced learning environment
    • Explore what forms of interaction self-paced online learners value most as well as what impact they perceive interaction to have on their overall online learning experience
  • 9. Research Questions
    • What forms of interaction do adult learners engage in most in self-paced online courses?
    • What forms of interaction do adult learners value most in self-paced online courses?
    • What forms of interaction do online adult learners identify as equivalent in self-paced online courses?
    • What impact do adult learners perceive interaction to have on their self-paced online learning experience?
  • 10. Research Design
    • Mixed methods approach
    • Semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted near the conclusion of the course
  • 11. Sampling Design
    • Participants
      • Online adult learners enrolled in a fully-online professional development certificate program offered by Valley Forge Christian College
    • Participant selection
      • Convenience sample: all learners (n=13) in Sept. 2007 section of “Advanced Web Communications” and Aug. 2007 section (n=1) invited to participate
      • Total of 10 learners agreed to participate (n=10)
  • 12. Participant Demographics
  • 13. Measures
    • Semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted over the phone, each approx. 1 hr. in length
    • Questions addressed 3 main types of interaction and formal vs. informal nature of such interactions
  • 14. Data Collection Procedures
    • Approval from Capella University IRB and VFCC Academic Affairs
    • Instrument and protocol was pilot tested
    • Interviews conducted via phone and recorded, transcribed, and coded
    • Interview transcripts sent to interviewees to confirm accuracy prior to coding
  • 15. Ethical Issues
    • Learners had no obligation to participate
    • Interview data stored securely using assigned id codes in place of participant names
    • Pseudo names used in place of actual names
  • 16. Data Analysis Procedures
    • Identified emergent themes from the data that will serve as foundational schema for further data organization and analysis
    • Frequency analysis of ordinal data
  • 17. Expected Findings
    • It was expected that one or more types of interaction will surface as being preferred for adult learners
    • Learners may recognize certain interactions as equivalent
  • 18. Analysis of Research Question #1
    • What forms of interaction to learners engage in most in self-paced online courses?
  • 19. Engagement in Interaction
    • Well-design content reported as one of the strongest aspects of the course
    • Practical application assignments among most beneficial
    • Overwhelmingly positive responses to course community, CMUOnet
  • 20. Reported Involvement
    • Most reported using course blog and social bookmarks
    • Instructors blog was very helpful for most
    • Participants didn’t attempt to contact outside experts
    • In-course discussion was limited
  • 21. Analysis of Research Question #2
    • What forms of interaction do adult learners value most in self-paced online courses?
  • 22.  
  • 23.  
  • 24.  
  • 25. Analysis of Research Question #3
    • What forms of interaction do online adult learners identify as equivalent in self-paced online courses?
  • 26. Findings
    • Blogging valued equally, and in some instances higher, than asynchronous discussion via the LMS
    • Interactions with instructor and content deemed equivalent or nearly equivalent, with interactions with other learners of less importance
    • Participants hesitant to agree to any degradation of instructor or content interactions but many agreed that learner interactions could be replaced
  • 27. Analysis of Research Question #4
    • What impact do adult learners perceive interaction to have on their self-paced online learning experience?
  • 28. Findings
    • Email was the preferred mode of interaction with instructor, blogging preferred for interaction with others
    • Feedback from instructor was reported as very important
    • Course size vs. quality
    • Participants identified a correlation between quality of interaction and quality of learning experience
  • 29. Interaction Matrix: Core Elements
  • 30. Interaction Matrix: Formal
  • 31. Interaction Matrix: Informal
  • 32. Interaction Matrix
  • 33. Conclusions
    • Depending on the specific circumstance, not all forms of interaction may be either equally valued by learners or effective
    • Informal interactions were as important as formal interactions in determining the quality of the online learning experience
    • Blogging was shown to be equivalent to or even superior to instructor-directed asynchronous discussion via the discussion board in a LMS
  • 34. Further Study
    • Explore perspectives of learners in varying disciplines/institutions/social-cultural backgrounds/online learning environments
    • Differing learner populations
    • Unique aspects of emergent asynchronous communications such as blogging, collaborative authorship, social bookmarking, and social networking
    • To what extent can a social network system meet the needs of designers, instructors, and learners and therefore be capable of replacing an LMS?
    • What impact does course size have on the self-paced online learning experience?