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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/58

Title: Learner-Learner Interaction in Self-Paced Study at a Distance: Perceptions and Practice in Multiple Cases
Authors: Thiessen, Janice
Supervisor(s): Anderson, Terry (Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University)
Examining Committee: Perry, Beth (Centre for Nursing & Health Studies, Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University)
Poelhuber, Bruno (Université de Montréal)
Barbour, Michael (Sacred Heart University)
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Keywords: Interaction
Industrial model
Social media
Case study
Issue Date: 10-Dec-2014
Abstract: While self-paced study at a distance allows learners to choose the rate at which, as well as where and when, they learn, providing for learner-learner interaction is a challenge. This multiple-case study, framed by the typology of three generations of distance pedagogy, explored how and why in-house learning/teaching specialists and academics at three public universities incorporate learner-learner interaction in self-paced courses. Two cases are located in North America; the third is in Europe. One of the North American cases offers distance as well as on-site courses; the remaining two are single-mode distance universities. Data from interviews with 14 learning/teaching specialists and 12 academics, and from 14 self-paced courses, were analyzed to determine the pedagogies, learner-learner interaction, and use of social media in self-paced courses, as well as course design and development processes. Cross-case analysis synthesized case-based findings and produced four assertions regarding (a) differences between academics’ and learning/teaching specialists’ perspectives and concerns, (b) influence of implicit cognitive-behaviourist pedagogy, (c) ownership of courses and processes, and (d) non-pedagogical factors’ effect on learning design and provision. These assertions represent the challenges of evolving toward more connectivist learning in self-paced study with opportunities of new pedagogies and technologies, as well as pressure to improve course quality and completion rates. Participants suggested that innovation and change within self-paced course design and provision are needed and desirable. However, pedagogical innovation lags far behind adoption of technology tools. To bridge the chasm of innovation in learning and teaching, it is important for course developers to explore their beliefs and ideas about how learning happens. Incorporating learner-learner interaction in self-paced study will call for change strategies and agents to consider and appreciate the characteristics, needs, and motivations of different types of potential innovation adopters.
Graduation Date: Nov-2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/58
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