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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?

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