The Importance of Interaction in Web-Based Education: A Program-level Case Study of Online MBA Courses
Though interaction is often billed as a significant component of successful online learning, empirical evidence of its importance as well as practical guidance or specific interaction techniques continue to be lacking. In response, this study utilizes both quantitative and qualitative data to investigate how instructors and students perceive the importance of online interaction and which instructional techniques enhance those interactions. Results show that instructors perceive the learner-instructor and learner-learner interactions as key factors in high quality online programs. While online students generally perceive interaction as an effective means of learning, they vary with regard to having more interaction in online courses. Such variations seem to be associated with differences in personality or learning style. The present study also shows that instructors tend to use technologies and instructional activities that they are familiar with or have relied on in traditional classroom settings. When it comes to learning more sophisticated technologies or techniques, instructors vary significantly in their usage of new approaches.