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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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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 http://llt.msu.edu/vol13num1/sauro.pdf 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. http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-PLP_Guide_to_Personalized_Learning.pdf 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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