Saturday, March 28, 2009

Three types of Interaction

Upon finishing the read of Mr. Moore's article, I simply just couldn't agree more. He mentions distance, and how it's definition is used in a widely general sense. We use it to describe the separation between the learner and the instructor...and that's pretty much it. Too few users use the more specific meanings that should be discussed when we mention distance learning. The term distance is used to describe how we learn outside of a set education environment. You can have just as much interaction with the instructor of the course through distance learning, as you would if you were face to face. With email, phone, skype, IM (instant messaging) and blogging, you can really get all the help you need...without having to be in the classroom. There is another word that loses its meaning through a general view of it and it is interaction, as I mentioned earlier. For the majority, interaction is the face to face communication that people, or a group of people have. The year is 2009, and interaction has so many levels that many are not aware of. I mentioned email, phone, skype, IM and blogging earlier, and that is what makes up interaction along with a face to face format. There are so many definitions that take on a general meaning, and most of the times the sub-meanings get swept under. More often than not due to convenience, and without many definitions you have less of a complex outcome. That is what the majority of us believe, more definitions = more complexity. Little do we know, with the many sub-meanings, we have a better understanding of the word(s). 

As important as the instructor is to the classroom, nothing is as important as the content, and what it means to the learner. As Mr. Moore states, without the understanding of the content there is no education. The learner-instructor interaction can help you with better understanding the content however, the instructor can only put so much in someone's brain. We as learners have to take the initiative and try twice as hard if there is a subject matter that we cannot comprehend. The instructor is there to guide us through, and give us the knowledge that we need for the problems. 

The interaction between learner and learner for some isn't very helpful, and for some quite so. It's the way that one looks at the situation. You can be happy that someone else is there knowing the same thing, or be intimidated. You can also be happy that there is another learner there that does not know much; or you can be embarassed and not want help from either the instructor or the other learner. Some are not comfortable with learning together, and some are just fine with it. It's the way of the learners, how easy or how hard something is, is up to them.  

My philosophy/vision can easily be tied in with all of this because my vision/philosophy is simple and can be done by anyone. Anyone can learn any type of technology if they apply themselves, have patience and understanding. You get what you put in, you reap what you sow. Apply this philosophy either online, face to face or combined and you will be fine.   


  1. A good overview on the three types of interactions. It is so difficult for teachers to keep these three types of interactions in focus in the traditional classroom and online classroom, and yet it so so obvious that all three are required for meaningful learning to take place.

    So how do you see these three types of interaction specifically fitting to your philosophy that anyone can learn if they apply themselves. How does one use student-instructor interaction to accomplish this? What about the other two types of interaction as well?

  2. As far as the student-instructor interaction goes and my can be rare. In a technology course, rarely does your teacher come across something that they have never heard before. Then again, it could happen ;) A student can show the instructor a different way, an easier way to do things sometimes.
    As a whole, the classroom can come together and apply themselves, and help each other with new technologies. If someone doesn't know something, 9 times out of 10, someone else, or even several people aren't going to know it either. There are a few students in classrooms that sometimes have a little more experience with these things ( and I don't mean me). It can be even more helpful if another student shows them. I say another student because unfortunately, there are quite a few people out there that are intimidated by the instructors. This does not mean that the instructor is a bad person. But some feel reticent to ask a question to their instructor for reasons that are not know to me. I can only guess nervousness or embarrassment. I only wish that the fear would leave, and we could all realize that we are all in this together. If we help each other as a group, student/instructor relationships can become the best educational means for success.