Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Creating Quality Online Courses: Learner Interaction

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In the online classroom environment, learner interaction is key to keeping students engaged. Instructors must strive for three distinct areas of interaction:

  1. Learner to instructor interaction
  2. Learner to learner interaction
  3. Learner to content interaction

Learner to Instructor Interactions

Learner to Instructor interactions establish an environment that encourages learners to understand the content. Some Instructional Activities you can include in your course follows:

  • Virtual office hours
  • Feedback on assignments
  • Summary of class key points/concepts
  • Asking or responding to instructor questions
  • Instructor participation in class discussions

Instructor to learner interaction is a key part of the online course. Many of the above recommendations can be achieved through email, discussions, announcements, and other tools within your Learning Management System.

Learner to learner Interactions

Learner to learner interactions take place between one learner and other learners, alone or in group settings, with or without the real-time presence of an instructor.

Some of the instructional activities that promote learner-to-learner interactions are as follows:

  • Team-based learning activities
  • Online discussions as part of assessment
  • Small team discussions
  • Wikis
  • Blogs
  • Instructor participation in team discussions
  • Peer evaluation
  • Student introduction forum

You will notice a lot of learner to learner action takes place within the discussion area. Following are a few ideas when you work with discussions:

  1. Prepare Discussion Posts that Invite Questions, Discussions, Reflections and Responses
  2. Create open-ended questions that learners can explore and apply the concepts that they are learning
  3. Encourage critical or creative thinking
  4. Supporting students in their own reflections and inquiries
  5. Do not post questions soliciting basic facts, or questions for which there is an obvious yes/no response.
  6. Provide guidelines and instruction on responding to other students.

Learner to content Interaction

Learner to content interaction is the process of intellectually interacting with content that results in changes in the learner’s understanding or perspective. The interaction can be as simple as reading a text to creating something creating something because of that knowledge.

  • Textbooks
  • Videos
  • Interactive Learning Games
  • Links to various resources

No matter what type of interaction you include in the course the learning activities should promote the achievement of the stated learning objectives. The instructor should include feedback on all assignments and detailed instruction of the activity requirements.


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

April 4, 2016 at 9:00 am

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