Investigating the socio-constructivist dimension of online interactions: the case of synchronous audio-graphic conferencing systems.
Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics, 16 pp. 89–109.
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This study explores the quality of interactive patterns in audio-graphic conferencing environments and learners' involvement in interaction. Supporters of this technology claim that online interactions support socio-constructivist language learning. However, the existing literature does not indicate whether the quality of interaction required for realising constructivist principles of learning can affectively be ensured in such environments.
The study is based on the Open University's online audio-graphic tuition environment, Lyceum. It investigates the verbal and written interactions of adult Open University students learning French. The data is analysed by different models of analysis pertaining to different socio-constructivist and cognitive models of analysis.
The results show that students use high forms of thinking to engage in a cyclical rather than a linear process of knowledge construction. However, there is no evidence that this process is supported by the audio-graphic system itself. The tutor's style and task design play a more important role in supporting the learning process.
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