THE ROLE OF PEDAGOGY, MEDIA AND STUDENTS' PERSONALITY IN SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING: COMPARING FACE-TO-FACE AND VIDEOCONFERENCING PARTICIPATION
During the last years, an increasing portion of face-to-face teaching-learning processes in the academia is being replaced with online synchronous sessions based on various communication technologies. According to the Media Naturalness Theory (Kock, 2005), the effectiveness of online learning is mainly affected by the difference in the naturalness level of the communication technology channels.
The present study compared learning in a face-to-face environment to learning in two online conditions (one-way and two-way video conferencing environments). We examined the influence of the medium naturalness and personality traits of the students (extroversion-introversion and emotional stability-neuroticism) on the participation level and frequency in the lecture.
The study was conducted as a controlled experiment, with 76 participants attending a lesson that included several teaching-learning components: lecture, instructor-students interaction, students-instructor interaction, and students-students interaction. "Zoom" videoconferencing, which allows spontaneous and active participation using a web camera and a microphone, was utilized for the online conditions. Participation level during the lecture was calculated as the total number of words said by each student. The frequency of participation was calculated as the total number of turn-taking of each student.
Results show that the teaching-learning strategy significantly influenced participation and that its influence was far beyond the impact of medium naturalness and personality traits. Compared to other teaching-learning strategies, participation was found to be much higher and frequent when the instructor encouraged the students to talk. Participants did not tend to interrupt the instructor's lecture, spontaneously ask questions or talk to each other. As expected, extroverts participated significantly more than introverts; however neuroticism did not affect the participation level.
Results indicate the importance of adjusting the teaching-learning strategy to the online environment and to the personal characteristics of different students.