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Interactivity

A study found that only about 5% of the information delivered through lecture is retained. Retention rate is 50% for discussion, and is 70% for practice by doing. The highest retention rate, 80%, is for students teaching others.

We learn best when we teach others. Learning is a living process which is catalyzed by interactions with other people. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school, Einstein said.

The textbook gives facts, but it is interaction with teachers and peers that transforms information into education.

Innovations in technology enable students to interact anytime, anywhere today. WUC seeks to explore new models of online and hybrid delivery systems designed to facilitate learning through teacher-student and student-student interaction.

  • Interaction stimulates understanding and thinking, helps learners retain knowledge more easily, and builds a sense of confidence.
  • Lack of interaction is one of the reasons that student dropout rates are high in online classes.
  • Online classes that enable interaction meet the social needs of the students. The social nature of learning develops a sense of community, belonging and trust.
  • Some students who do not speak up readily during a face-to-face class may be more comfortable responding to discussion board topics because they have time to formulate answers.
  • Online education gives rise to fears of youngsters becoming isolated and addicted to gadgets. But new tools and modes of learning make it possible for internet-based education to provide interaction with others as intense as that provided by the traditional classroom. 
  • A study found that only about 5% of the information delivered through lecture is retained. Retention rate is 50% for discussion, and is 70% for practice by doing. The highest retention rate, 80%, is for students teaching others.1
  • A blended or hybrid version can combine the best of both classroom and online formats. In hybrid models students receive lecture content online at their own time and utilize classroom time for more intensive interaction with instructors and other students than is possible when class time is consumed by lecture delivery.
  • A study on blended learning revealed that most students need a support network to excel.2 They acquire the skill of working with diverse groups.
  • Online interactivity can be enhanced by email live chat discussion and video conferencing between instructors and students over Skype, Webex or Google hangouts. 
  • Versatile and user-friendly group discussion software and feature-rich social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow stu­dents to relate to their classmates and peers around the world.
  • Digital textbooks enable students to take notes, create study groups online, and let one see others’ notes and highlights in real time, creating running discussions on the go. 
  • Photo-sharing websites like Pinterest are used by educators to create visual scrapbooks and publish students’ work.
  • Peer review of the work of other students is a powerful tool for enhancing the effectiveness of education. Online forums make it possible for students to raise questions and to teach one another as well. 
  • Questions posted in forums in Coursera courses are answered, on an average, in 22 minutes. 
  • Some MOOCs allow students to identify classmates from the same vicinity and organize physical discussion groups. At a Coursera meet up in Menlo Park in 2012, the organizers expected a turnout of 100 students, but more than 600 attendees arrived, raising the question whether meet ups are the new classrooms.

1 Leese, M. (2009). Out of class—out of mind? The use of a virtual learning environment to encourage student engagement in out of class activities. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(1). 70-77. Retrieved from WilsonWeb database.

2 National Training Laboratories Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences, “The Learning Triangle: Retention Rates from Different Ways of Learning,” Bethel, Maine, 2005