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Interaction research in distance education has focused mostly on learner-teacher interaction in a learning environment based on a behaviorist curriculum. This study examines interaction patterns at both interpersonal and system levels in a learner-centered distance collaborative learning environment. The proposed model, which resulted from research on patterns of learner interaction in both the synchronous and asynchronous computer-mediated communication modes, examines factors contributing to interaction in the areas of learner characteristics, technology attributes, and learning activities. At the system level, student perceptions of both synchronous and asynchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems and the relationship with interaction are investigated. At the interpersonal level, patterns of learner-learner interaction over both communication modes are compared and contrasted. The overall effects of various theoretical-based instructional activities on learner interaction are also scrutinized. The research methods include content analysis, formative and summative evaluation of the instructional activities, and technologies employed in a distance-learning course. The data for content analysis are based on conference transcripts from both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Formative data are based on student reflection journals, instructor's log, and observers' logs. (Contains 13 references.) (AEF)

Descriptors: Computer Mediated Communication, Cooperative Learning, Distance Education, Educational Technology, Group Activities, Interaction Process Analysis, Interpersonal Relationship, Learner Controlled Instruction, Learning Activities, Teacher Student Relationship

Autor: Chou, C. Candace


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