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Articles (2)

The role of interactivity

Although e-learning programs are able to overcome the geographical constraints that arise in the conventional class, it also creates uncertainty amongst the learners about the quality and frequency of the interaction they enjoy (Borup, West & Graham, 2012) . In distance learning, feedback is categorized into feedback between learner - content, trainer - content, learner - technology, trainees - trainees (Chou, Peng & Chang; 2010). Interaction between teachers, pupils and content is a vital factor in achieving learning objectives (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014).
According to Yung-Ming (2013), factors influencing the perception of interaction experienced by users are mainly about controlling the content, the sequence of communication, the speed and consistency of the responses they receive and the personalization of responses - feedback they receive on their questions and dids. These factors influence the endogenous motivation of users, the perception of the ease of use of the program as well as the use of the framework for improving web-based e-learning interactivity (2016). Indeed, the importance of perception of ease of use and feedback is found to irredeemably affect student performance in e-learning programs (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014).
Interaction needs to be reinforced by concrete practices that will satisfy the need and the insecurity of trainees. In order to facilitate distance learning, teachers use electronic platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard, which support the management of online courses and activities while enhancing student exposure to the teaching subject (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014). In these learning platforms it is imperative that users enter at a high frequency as it has been observed that their interaction with other participants, teachers and pupils (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014) is enhanced. Educators play a key role in engaging students with other participants in a modern and asynchronous way, encouraging them to respond to their questions by creating a learning community that will provide learners with equal opportunities for communication such as live lessons and interaction in the virtual environment (Maboe, 2017). At the end of the course, the teacher should be able to develop with the students an asynchronous communication and manage it in the appropriate way so that the learning community can engage in discussions on the topic to be debated (Maboe, 2017). In conclusion, substantial technical assistance should be provided to difficulties that may arise due to lack of the necessary technological knowledge and to ensure the smooth operation of the system throughout the program (Maboe, 2017)


Borup, J., West, R.E. & Graham, C.R. (2012), Improving online social presence through asynchronous video. The Internet and Higher Education, 55(3), 195-203.

Chou, C., Peng, H. Y. & Chang, C. Y. (2010). The technical framework of interactive functions for course-management systems: students' perceptions, uses, and evaluations. Computers & Education, 55(3), 1004-1017.

Framework for improving web based e-learning interactivity. (2016). 2016 24th Telecommunications Forum (TELFOR), Telecommunications Forum (TELFOR), 2016 24th, 1. doi:10.1109/TELFOR.2016.7818925

Maboe, K. A. (2017). Full Length Article: Use of online interactive tools in an open distance learning context: Health studies students' perspective. Health SA Gesondheid, 22221-227. doi:10.1016/j.hsag.2017.02.001

Wei, H., Peng, H., & Chou, C. (2015). Can more interactivity improve learning achievement in an online course? Effects of college students' perception and actual use of a course-management system on their learning achievement. Computers & Education, 8310-21. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2014.12.013

Yung-Ming, C. (2014). Roles of interactivity and usage experience in e-learning acceptance: a longitudinal study. International Journal Of Web Information Systems, (1), 2. doi:10.1108/IJWIS-05-2013-0015

This article aims to compare and clarify two of the major learning theories, Constructivism and Behaviorism as well as to find out how they can contribute in designing online learning programs.

The basic principle of Behaviorism is that learning is the result of a person's response to a stimulus. The student does not work independently on the environment but on the contrary his / her behavior is controlled by environmental factors, thus not having the control of the learning or the time it takes to achieve it (Technology in Education, n.d). All the objectives are predetermined, while the student is tasked with absorbing the offered knowledge so that in the final stage it may present desired - predetermined behaviors. The pupil is individually assessed and controlled if his behaviors and performances can state that he has acquired the new knowledge according to the criteria the teacher has set as the right response. (Weegar & Pacis, 2012). Thus, the teacher is at the center of learning, trying to find ways to enhance the desired behaviors by providing the appropriate stimuli without taking into account the social-cultural context of the learners as well as their needs, ultimately failing to contribute to the acquisition of a higher level of competence or those skills that require deeper processing (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

On the other side, another predominant learning theory is constructivism, which asserts that learning is an active process as students enter the process of building knowledge by trying to clarify the events of the world environment (Technology in Education, n.d.). Constructivists believe that learning only happens when there is active information processing and so they ask students to create their own motifs by linking new knowledge to those with the result that they constantly undergo the cultivation of post-cognitive skills (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis , 2005). Constructivists do not share the attitude of behaviorism that knowledge is independent of the mind and believe that the mind is the internal representation of the outside world, with the result that students are forced to construct their own knowledge through personal experiences and real events (Weegar & Pacis, 2012). Actions in the constructivist model enhance the ability to solve the problems of those involved, the ability to conduct research and work within a group, while the educator plays the role of assistant-supporter of the learning process and his students, encouraging them to formulate their own ideas and conclusions (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Which one is better to use when designing e-learning courses?

The creation and the need to adopt a technological approach to the Internet learning, stems from the theory of constructivism. In an article by Vrasidas, Zebbys & Petros (2005), Vygotski's theories of self-regulating and reflective knowledge express the inseparably linked nature of those theories with new approaches in the field of education. As a result, teaching is driven to its peak, as the teacher is now invited to combine both pedagogical approaches and technological applications and new teaching approaches, effectively designing an authentic learning environment where the learners will benefit the most. (Erben, Ban & Casta ~ neda, 2009; Medina & Alvarez, 2014)

Despite their differences, these two learning theories are well suited to the design of online learning today. Although the various technological tools are primarily designed in the context of behaviorist theories  most teachers choose to use a combination of behavioral and constructivist design patterns, perceiving the dynamics of both theories in order to satisfy of the educational peculiarities of each student(Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

learning theories


Βρασίδας, Χ., Ζεμπύλας, Μ., & Πέτρου, Α. (2005). Σύγχρονα παιδαγωγικά μοντέλα και ο ρόλος της εκπαιδευτικής τεχνολογίας. Στο: Σ. Ρετάλης (επιμ.) Οι προηγμένες τεχνολογίες διαδικτύου στην υπηρεσία της μάθησης. (σελ. 35- 58), Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Καστανιώτη. 

Erben, T., Ban, R., & Casta~neda, M. (2009). Teaching English language learners through technology. New York, NY: Routledge 

Technology in Education. (n.d.) Learning Theories.εκπαιδευτικό-υλικό/θεωρίες-μάθησης ">Retrieved October 4, 2017 by Educational-york/views

Kostantinidis, A. (2005). Learning Theories and Their Effects on Educational Software Design (Dissertation, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2005).

 Medina, L. C., & Alvarez, C. P. (2014). Fostering Collaboration in CALL: Benefits and Challenges of Using Virtual Language Resource Centres.

Weegar, M.A. & Pacis, D. (2012). A Comparison of Two Theories of Learning - Behaviorism and Constructivism as applied to Face-to-Face and Online Learning. Presented at the E-Leader Conference. Manila, Philippines.