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Learner-Instructor Interaction: Theory

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Cognitive and motivational significance of learner-instructor interaction: what learners gain from social presence, input, feedback, and scaffolding. Points for attention in learner-instructor interaction: learner-centeredness, meeting learner needs.
This lesson is part of the NFLRC Online Language Pedagogy Series, designed for in-service teachers of world languages online.

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
The advantages of learner-instructor interaction have much to do with principles of language acquisition that have been proved to help learning a language. Among them, the most important would be the provision of targeted, timely, individualized corrective feedback. This feedback is important for all aspects of language (written, oral, intercultural, etc.). From a cognitivist perspective this feedback serves to reset what the student knows and improve his/her language structures. It is important to note that we are still exploring what type of feedback may be more beneficial for online learning (see Sauro, 2009 for an example) from those that we know work well during face to face instruction (explicit/implicit, focus on form, metalinguistic, recasts, etc.). The other big factor is motivation. When students feel they are being attended to and learning is personalized to their needs there is a higher motivation for learning. This link to Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey’ guide shows the difference between personalization (student-centered teaching), Teacher-centered and individualized teaching. Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting student satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education 22 (2): 306–331.

A new book is out in the topic:
Wright, R. D. (Ed.). (2015). Student-teacher interaction in online learning environments. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

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