Improving Online Learning Experience with Synchronous Chat

Y. Wang and X. Chen (USA)


Distance Learning, Synchronous Communication, ALN


Although the potential of synchronous communication through the Internet to improve online learning experiences has attracted some attention recently, there were few papers reporting its effects and the effects of the communication design. The case studies reported in this paper discover the needs of synchronous communication and assesses the value of online chats in distance-learning environments. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze the value of the chat sessions. Insights into the pros and cons of the chat sessions, the factors affecting the quality of the chat, and the students’ attitude toward the chat are discussed. The effects of the chat on the students’ motivation to study, the outcome of learning, and the communication among the students and the instructor are discussed. Suggestions for the design of synchronous chat in distance-learning classes are provided.

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