Interactivity in online discussions and learning outcomes

Kent, Carmel; Laslo, Esther and Rafaeli, Sheizaf (2016). Interactivity in online discussions and learning outcomes. Computers & Education, 97 pp. 116–128.



The increased use of online discussions in learning environments both formal and informal, positions the construct of interactivity as central to learning. Interactivity in learning communities' online discourse is viewed in this study as a socio-constructivist process. It is the network of interactions among content items and participants which drives a collective knowledge construction process. Conceptualizing interactivity in the literature is still unclear and not enough is known about its role in knowledge construction and about its relationship to learning outcomes. In addition, assessing learning outcomes using analytics has not matured fully and is still subject to intense development. This study thus sets out to investigate the role of interactivity as a process of knowledge construction within online discussions, and in particular, its association with learning outcomes, as measured by formal assessment tasks. We present significant positive correlations between various interactivity measures, taken from various learning communities, and a set of well-known learning assessments. We suggest that patterns of interactivity among learners can be measured, and teach us, not just about group dynamics and collaboration, but also about the actual individual learning process.

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