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Thursday, June 23 • 13:45 - 14:45
CON07.03c - Enhancing ‘deep learning’ in an e-learning environment through an evidenced-based approach to developing methods of social interaction between students and teachers

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E-learning has transformed traditional ways of learning in higher education (Salmon, 2005). Additionally, it provides the needed flexibility that can remove barriers to participation in post-secondary education and can be a fundamental vehicle for fostering a lifelong learning society (Canadian Council on Learning, 2009). With funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council a systematic literature review in higher education was conducted. Studies were screened for year of publication (2005-15), and language (English). Using a data classification system, 857 articles were chosen for analysis. The results revealed 3 dimensions for successful learning and indicated that social interaction is closely associated with deeper learning. Understanding social interaction in the online environment can benefit both teachers and students in the learning process and provides a basis to develop evidenced-based programs for online environments.

Conversational processes are identified as allowing learners to experience social presence and develop a feeling of belonging and psychological closeness, which is crucial to the development of deeper learning and enhances student engagement. Social interaction within groups promotes critical thinking and reflection, helps build networks, aids in decision-making, and increases collaboration between groups that enhances the ability of students to view concepts from diverse points of view; transferable skills to other social settings (Dunaway, 2011; Mbati, 2012). Considering that social interaction in e-learning may be challenging due to the nature of online education, the aim of this research is to develop guidelines for students and teachers, and subsequently new methods, for social interaction in e-learning.

The objective of this session is to further explore the three dimensions, and social interaction in the e-learning environment. A short presentation of the research will be followed by: (1) audience feedback regarding the findings, and (2) participants sharing their experiences and/or providing suggestions of how to create social interaction in online courses.


Debra Kiceniuk

Deborah Kiceniuk is a Senior Educational Developer at the Centre for Learning and Teaching, and Adjunct Professor with the Division of Medical Education at Dalhousie University. She is also vice-chair of SoTL Canada. Her interest in SoTL includes evaluation of programs and processes... Read More →

Additional Authors

Joyline Makani

Dr. Makani is currently a Librarian with Dalhousie University specializing in Management and Economics. She is a Lecturer with the Faculty of Management and an Adjunct Professor with Faculty of Graduate Studies. Her research and teaching interests include data management, policy... Read More →

Martine Durier-Copp

Dr. Durier-Copp is currently Director of the Centre for Advanced Management Education at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management. Her interests are in online education and interaction among virtual groups in an online environment. He also has a leadership role in the development... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 13:45 - 14:45 EDT