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Impacts of social presence on user interaction with learning support systems
by Jinwei Cao, Janna M. Crews
International Journal of Knowledge and Learning (IJKL), Vol. 5, No. 2, 2009


Abstract: This research studies the impact of social presence on user interaction with learning support systems. Two methods of user interaction, virtual interaction and e-mail-based interaction are investigated. In a field experiment conducted in a real educational setting we ask, ''Which features are more critical for achieving (a) highly satisfying interactions and (b) effective learning: the timely feedback and rich media provided by virtual interaction or the high social presence provided by dynamic online interaction with human instructors?'' Both quantitative and qualitative results indicate that virtual interaction has lower social presence and results in lower user satisfaction with the interaction than e-mail-based interaction; however, there were no significant differences in user satisfaction with the learning process or actual learning performance. Potential exists for improving the social presence of virtual interaction and applying virtual interaction as a satisfying, yet cost-effective form of interaction within learning support systems. Based on our findings, we suggest a three level strategy for incorporating interaction into the design and implementation of learning support systems. Depending on the characteristics of the learning situation, virtual interaction, e-mail-based interaction and/or face-to-face interaction are advised.

Online publication date: Sun, 16-Aug-2009


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