The Effects of a Synchronous Communication Tool (Yahoo Messenger) on Online Learners’ Sense of Community and their Multimedia Authoring Skills

Shiang-Kwei Wang
New York Institute of Technology, New York


Literature suggests that developing a community of learners is the key to a successful online-learning experience. In this study, the instructor of a multimedia authoring course adopted a synchronous communication tool (Yahoo Messenger) to interact with learners orally on a weekly basis and, thereby, to establish a sense among the learners that the class was a learning community. This study adopts mixed-methodology (the Classroom Community Scale, open-ended questions, and grades) to compare the learners’ development of a sense of community with both the outcomes of the learners’ group-centered online learning and the outcomes of the learners’ group-centered face-to-face learning. The results indicate that in neither of the two groups did a sense of community contribute to the improvement of hands-on skills. Providing clear instruction with constant and accurate feedback is the key strategy by which instructors can help online learners improve their hands-on performance.

About the Author(s)...

Shiang-Kwei Wang (Ph.D. University of Georgia) is an Assistant Professor of the Master of Science in Instructional Technology Program at the New York Institute of Technology. Her professional interests have been in the areas of online learning tools and the associated pedagogies, the motivational impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on learning attitude and performance, as well as the design and development of interactive learning tools. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Her web site address is

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