Relationship among Distance
Learner’s Interactions and Success
Asad Abbas Rizvi
*
Shahinshah Babar Khan
**
Shaheen Ashraf Tahirkheli
***
Abstract
In Pakistan, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and some other
conventional universities are imparting higher education through
distance learning system. These higher education institutions try to
modernize their teaching process with the new trends and practices going
on around the world to equip their students with latest content knowledge
and research methodologies. Allama Iqbal Open University is Pakistan’s
pioneer university which laid the foundation of distance learning system
for the first time when this concept was not much popular around the
world, but AIOU has proven its worth and now its services are
acknowledged all over the country. Learner to learner interaction, learner
to instructor interaction and learner to content interaction are the
characteristics of distance learning system of AIOU. Workshops are
necessary component of distance learning mode where learner to learner
and learner to instructor interaction occurs, experts from the relevant
field share their experiences and guide learners to related content. This
study investigated the degree to which learner to learner, learner to
instructor and learner to content interaction contribute in success through
distance mode.
The sample for the study was the students of M.S leading to Ph.D
and M. Phil of Allama Iqbal Open University. A questionnaire was
developed for collecting data from the sample students. Regression
analysis was used to calculate the effect of learner to learner, learner to
*
Assistant Professor (Education) International Islamic University, Islamabad
**
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Model College, Islamabad
***
Research Associate, Faculty of Education, Allama Iqbal Open University,
Islamabad
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 2
instructor and learner to content interaction on success of the students. It
was found that success in distance learning system is positively
correlated with the learner-instructor interaction while learner-learner
interaction was the least predictor for success in distance learning.
Keywords: Trends, teaching methodologies, teaching process.
Introduction
Education molds a person into a responsible citizen that is why
nations across the world try to educate its mass by all means. The
concept of distance education was introduced to achieve the objective of
educating the maximum people for playing positive role in their fields.
With the passage of time, distance education gain popularity and
currently it is providing force for all fields with the required skills and
potential.
In Pakistan, Allama Iqbal Open University introduced distance
education system for the first time when it was not much accepted
around the world. Initially, there were many question marks on its
teaching methodology and delivery but AIOU not only answer all the
questions which were raised on its system but also provide distance
learning models to other institutions. AIOU blended all the modern
varieties to make its teaching learning system more reliable and
authentic. Currently, AIOU’s teaching learning system has potential to
produce the force which has knowledge, skills and potential to work in
the modern world.
No one can produce good results while working in isolation. For
collective work and for knowing other people views and opinion over
some certain point, interaction is necessary. Interaction helps to add
some new knowledge in the existing knowledge to improve its current
body. Interaction builds a sense of community among the students, which
leads to student satisfaction, retention, and increased learning (Brown,
2001).
Interaction offers an opportunity to increase the capacity by mutual
discussion with others. Literature provides three main kinds of
interaction (i) learner - learner interaction (ii) learner - instructor
interaction (iii) learner –content interaction. All these interactions work
for the same cause to produce good results. AIOU know the importance
of interactions and manage platforms to interact for the sake of solutions.
AIOU provide the best available content to its clients and arranges
Relationship among Distance Learner’s Interactions and Success 3
workshops and seminars for learner - learner interaction and learner -
instructor interaction and provide technological support for learner-
interface interaction. In workshops/seminars, learners of distance
education meet with other learners and instructors, discuss their weak
points and clarify the concepts while updated content provides the latest
version of available knowledge to apply. Interactions affect the students’
learning and reinforce the students to utilize all the learning of
interactions for success in the examination.
Literature
Interaction is a way to see other learners, instructors, interface with
technologies or content to learn new information and knowledge.
Learners instructors, technologies and content work as sources of
knowledge for learner.
Thurmond (2003) defined interaction as:
…the learner’s engagement with the course content, other learners,
the instructor, and the technological medium used in the course. True
interactions with other learners, the instructor, and the technology
results in a reciprocal exchange of information. The exchange of
information is intended to enhance knowledge development in the
learning environment. Depending on the nature of the course content,
the reciprocal exchange may be absent such as in the case of paper
printed content. Ultimately, the goal of interaction is to increase
understanding of the course content or mastery of the defined goals
(p. 4).
Generally, in distance education, learners remain away from each
other and the importance of interaction increased. Interaction has been
regarded as a key component of effective instruction in both traditional
face-to-face and technology-mediated learning environments…. The
importance of interaction increases within the context of distance
learning since learners are physically separated from instructors and
other learners (So, 2010). In distance education system,
workshops/seminars are arranged to introduce learners with each other
and with instructors to share academic knowledge and to get mastery
over the course content.
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 4
Types of Interaction
Literature suggests the following three main types of interaction:
1. Learner-to-Content Interaction: This type of interaction results
from students examining the course content and participating in class
activities.
2. Learner-to-Learner Interaction: This type of interaction can take
place between two students or between several students.
3. Learner-to-Instructor Interaction: This type of interaction is
intended to reinforce student understanding of course materials and
provide the student with feedback.
(http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/ATC/Collaboratory/Teaching/intera
ction.html)
Hillman, Willis, and Gunawardena (1994) added a fourth type of
interaction and called it as learner-interface interaction, the interaction of
learners with technologies.
Kelsey and D’souza (n.d) conducted a case study and found that
student-student interactions were not critical to the success of students
and were the least important form of interaction for students.
Collaborative group interaction can help in learning the course content
and easing feelings of isolation (Thurmond and Wambach, n.d). Soo and
Bonk (1998) conducted a study with eight experienced distance
education instructors using Delphi Technique and found that teachers
considered learner-learner interaction very important.
Learner-to-Instructor Interaction affects the learning process in
different ways. In learner-instructor interaction, instructor share tips for
effective learning provide feedback at the spot, guide students to look for
some possible alternative ways for some problem which ultimately
enhance the outcomes of the students. (n.d) conducted a study on
Interaction issues in Malaysia.
Open Distance Learning (ODL) claims that interactivity when
conducted properly by distance teachers increases the motivation of
students to complete ODL courses. Instructors typically have a wealth of
knowledge and insight into what makes instruction effective, awareness
of the expectations and desires of their students can help improve the
teaching and learning experiences for everyone (Dennen, Darabi and
Smith, 2007).
Relationship among Distance Learner’s Interactions and Success 5
Objective of the Study
The objective of the study was to investigate the degree to which
learner to learner, learner to instructor and learner to content interaction
contribute in success through distance learning mode.
Research Question
Which is the best predictor of success in distance learning system:
learner-learner interaction, learner-instructor interaction or learner-
content interaction?
Delimitation of the Study
The study was delimited to:
1. The department of Teacher Education
2. The students enrolled in M. S leading to Ph.D and M.Phil in spring
2008.
Sample of the Study
Through universal sampling technique, the students of M.S leading
to Ph.D and M.Phil enrolled in spring 2008 were selected as sample for
the study. The detail of the sample for the study is as under:
Table 1
Sample for the Study
Program
Male
Female
Total
M.S leading to Ph. D
13
9
22
M. Phil
25
30
55
Total Students
77
Vice Chancellor’s Annual Report 2007-2008
Instrument of the Study
After reviewing the related literature, the researchers developed a
questionnaire on five points Likert scale. The questionnaire was aimed to
know the opinion of sample students about the effects of learner-to-
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 6
learner, learner-to-instructor and learner-to-content interaction on
success. There were five statements for each aspect of the interaction.
Validation of the Instrument
For validation, the custom made questionnaire was presented to two
academicians who were engaged in distance learning system for the last
10 years. The academicians were requested to check the statements in the
light of objective of the study. Theme academicians suggest some
changes in the statements which were made in the light of their
suggestions.
Administration of the Instrument
The instrument was administered by the researchers and help from
colleagues was also taken. A cover letter was attached with the
questionnaire to explain the objective of the study. The participants were
followed by mobile calls and messages and within available time, forty
eight filled questionnaires were collected back.
Data Analysis
Multiple regression was run on the data to predict the influence of
independent (Learner-learner interaction, learner-instructor interaction,
learner-content interaction) variables on the dependent variable (success)
in distance learning system. Enter method was considered best as this
method accepts all the independent variable at the same time to predict.
Table 2
Descriptive Statistics
Mean
N
Success
20.7292
48
Learner to instructor
18.6042
48
Learner to content
20.2083
48
Learner to learner
19.7083
48
Table 2 gives the mean score for each variable; Std. Deviation shows
the spread of scores for each variable and N represents the number of
participants.
Relationship among Distance Learner’s Interactions and Success 7
Table 3
Correlations
Success
Learner to
instructor
Learner to
content
Learner to
learner
Success
1.000
.383
.287
.161
Learner to
instructor
.383
1.000
.241
-.067
Learner to
content
.287
.241
1.000
-.242
Pearson Correlation
Learner to
learner
.161
-.067
-.242
1.000
Success
.
.004
.024
.137
Learner to
instructor
.004
.
.050
.325
Learner to
content
.024
.050
.
.048
Sig. (1-tailed)
Learner to
learner
.137
.325
.048
.
Table 4
Model Summary
a. Predictors: (Constant), Learner to learner, Learner to instructor, Learner to content.
The R value (.495) indicates the multiple correlation co efficient
between all the entered independent and dependent variables. The R
square value shows the amount of variance in the dependent variable that
can be explained by the independent variable. Here the R square value is
0.245, this mean that this model explains 24 percent of the variance in
success of distance learning.
Model
R
R Square
Adjusted R
Square
Std. Error of the Estimate
1
.495
a
.245
.193
1.21131
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 8
Table 5
Anova
a. Predictors: (Constant), learner to learner, learner to instructor, learner to content
From table 5, the sig. value (0.006) is less than 0.05; it means that
the predictors of the study are significantly better than would be
expected by chance.
Table 6
Coefficients
a. Dependent Variable: SUCCESS
The above table 2 shows the correlations among the variables of the
study, it is clear that success in distance learning system is positively
correlated with the learner-instructor interaction (p< 0.01).
The Standardized Coefficients Beta shows the contribution of each
independent variable makes to the model. The beta value is the average
amount of change that occurs in dependent variable due to some change
in independent variable while all other independent variables are kept
constant. Table 6, predicts that the largest influence on success in
distance learning is the learner to instructor interaction and learner to
content interaction is the second best predictor for success in distance
learning system.
Model
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Regression
20.919
3
6.973
4.752
.006
a
Residual
64.560
44
1.467
1
Total
85.479
47
Unstandardized
Coefficients
Standardized
Coefficients
Model
B
Std. Error
Beta
t
Sig.
(Constant)
11.771
2.562
4.595
.000
Learner to instructor
.172
.069
.336
2.486
.017
Learner to content
.153
.080
.266
1.916
.062
1
Learner to learner
.136
.074
.248
1.839
.073
Relationship among Distance Learner’s Interactions and Success 9
Conclusion
In distance learning system, interactions are equally important as in
traditional learning system. Learner-learner, learner-instructor and
learner-content interactions are the gradients of distance learning system.
AIOU routes printed materials to its clients through post mail and
arranges workshops where learners interact with peers and instructors.
These interactions provide opportunities to discuss academic problems
and share academic knowledge with peers while instructors explain the
hidden aspects to the learners. Ultimately, the learning happens through
interactions play a vital role in success. The study shows that learner-
instructor interaction is the best predictor for success in distance learning
system, matches with the finding of Ali and Ahmad (2011) who in a
study about factors for students’ satisfaction in distance learning of
AIOU found that 58 % of variation in the dependent variable (student
satisfaction) is caused by the independent variable student-instructor
interaction. Learner-content interaction the next predictor that contributes
for success in distance learning system, while learner-learner interaction
was the least predictor of success in distance education as was found by
Kelsey and D’ Souza (available at
http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer72/kelsey72.html) that
Student-student interactions were not critical to the success of students
and were least important form of interaction for students.
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 10
References
Allama Iqbal Open University. (2008). Vice Chancellor’s Annual Report 2007-
2008. Islamabad: Author.
Ali, A., & Ahmad, I. (2011). Key factors for determining students’ satisfaction
in distance learning courses: A study of Allama Iqbal Open University.
Contemporary Educational Technology, 8(2), 118-134.
Brown, R., E. (2001). The process of community-building in distance learning
courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2). Retrieved on
July 12, 2013.
Dennen, V., P. Darabi, A., A. & Smith, L., J. (2007). Instructor-Learner
interaction in online courses: The relative perceived importance of
particular instructor actions on performance and satisfaction. Distance
Education. 28(1), 65-79.
Dzakiria, H. & Christopher, A., A. (n.d). Interaction Issues in Malaysia Open
Distance Learning (ODL). (Available at
mjde.usm.my/vol7_2_2005/mjde7_2_5.pdf)
Kelsey, K., D & D'souza, A.(n.d). Student motivation for learning at a distance:
Does interaction matter? Retrieved on July 20, 2013 from
http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer72/kelsey72.html
Hillman, D. C. A., Willis, D. J., & Gunawardena, C. N. (1994). Learner-
interface interaction in distance education: An extension of contemporary
models and strategies for practitioners. The American Journal of Distance
Education, 8(2), 30-41.
So, H., J. (2010). Towards Rigor of online interaction research: Implication for
future distance learning research. The Turkish Online Journal of
Educational Technology, 9(2).
Soo, K., & Bonk, C. J. (1998). Interaction: What does it mean in online distance
education? Paper presented at the ED-MEDIA/ED-TELECOM 98 World
Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia & World
Conference on Educational Telecommunications (10th), Freiburg,
Germany. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 428724).
Thurmond, V. A. (2003). Examination of interaction variables as predictors of
students' satisfaction and willingness to enroll in future Web-based courses
while controlling for student characteristics. Published Dissertation.
University of Kansas. Parkland, FL: Dissertation.com. Available online
http://www.dissertation.com/library/1121814a.htm

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2017 Pakistan Journal of Distance and Online Learning