In recent years, the emergence of online learning platforms has led to a dramatic shift in education practices, with more learners opting for remote learning options. As such, the need to understand how instructors can facilitate learning and engagement for students in virtual learning environments has become increasingly important. This article explores the impact of instructor immediacy and presence on online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Defining Immediacy and Presence in Online Learning
Immediacy and presence refer to the degree to which an instructor communicates with learners, establishes personal connections, and creates a positive learning environment. Immediacy is a combination of verbal and non-verbal cues used by the instructor to create a sense of psychological closeness and availability to learners. Presence, on the other hand, involves the instructor’s ability to engage learners in ways that foster a sense of community and support for learning.
In virtual learning environments, immediacy and presence can be achieved through various means, such as regular communication through messaging and email, the use of video conferencing, providing timely feedback, and creating interactive learning activities.
The Impact of Immediacy and Presence on Student Affective Learning
Research has consistently shown that the presence and immediacy of instructors have a positive impact on student affective learning. Students are more likely to feel engaged, motivated, and committed to learning when they have a positive relationship with their instructor. The use of immediate feedback, for example, has been found to improve student motivation, engagement, and satisfaction with the course (Jaggars, Edgecombe, & Stacey, 2013).
Moreover, when instructors use personalization and supportive communication, students experience higher levels of self-efficacy and are more likely to persist through challenging tasks (Jung & Kim, 2017). Personalized communication, such as addressing students by name, providing personalized feedback, and acknowledging their progress, fosters a sense of belonging and support for learners, leading to improved affective learning outcomes.
The Impact of Immediacy and Presence on Student Cognition
Immediacy and presence also have a significant impact on student cognition. When instructors use techniques such as summarizing key points, providing clear and concise instructions, and asking open-ended questions, students are more likely to retain information and engage in critical thinking (Richardson & Swan, 2003). Additionally, the use of interactive learning activities, such as discussion forums, group projects, and simulations, can enhance student engagement and facilitate knowledge transfer.
Research also suggests that instructor presence has a positive impact on student cognitive load. When instructors provide clear and structured learning materials, students experience less cognitive overload, leading to better retention of information and improved learning outcomes (Morrison, Ross, & Kemp, 2004).
The Impact of Immediacy and Presence on Student Motivation
Finally, the presence and immediacy of instructors have a positive impact on student motivation. When students feel connected to their instructor and peers, they are more likely to be motivated to learn and succeed in the course (Richardson & Swan, 2003).
Research has found that instructor feedback and communication have a significant impact on student motivation. Immediate feedback, for example, has been shown to increase student motivation and engagement (Jaggars et al., 2013). Similarly, instructors who provide clear and structured instructions and set clear expectations for learning outcomes have been found to enhance student motivation and persistence (Morrison et al., 2004).
Implications for Educators and Stakeholders
The findings of this article have several implications for educators and stakeholders. First, educators should prioritize creating a positive and supportive learning environment for their online students. This can be achieved through personalized communication, immediate feedback, and interactive learning activities.
Second, stakeholders should invest in professional development opportunities for instructors to improve their teaching practices in virtual learning environments. This can include training on how to use technology effectively, strategies for building rapport with students, and techniques for creating engaging and interactive learning activities.
Third, stakeholders should also prioritize providing adequate resources and support for students in virtual learning environments. This can include access to technology and technical support, academic support services, and mental health resources.
In conclusion, the impact of instructor immediacy and presence on online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation is significant. By prioritizing creating a positive and supportive learning environment, instructors can help students feel more connected and motivated to learn, leading to better learning outcomes and increased student satisfaction with the course.
Future Directions for Research
While research has consistently demonstrated the impact of instructor immediacy and presence on student affective learning, cognition, and motivation, there is still much to learn about how to best support learners in virtual learning environments. Future research could explore the following areas:
- The impact of immediacy and presence on different student populations, such as students with disabilities, non-traditional students, and international students.
- The effectiveness of different types of interactive learning activities for enhancing student engagement and cognition.
- The impact of immediacy and presence on student retention and completion rates in online courses.
- The role of cultural differences in the effectiveness of instructor immediacy and presence.
By addressing these research gaps, educators and stakeholders can gain a better understanding of how to best support learners in virtual learning environments.
In conclusion, the impact of instructor immediacy and presence on online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation is significant. By prioritizing creating a positive and supportive learning environment, instructors can help students feel more connected and motivated to learn, leading to better learning outcomes and increased student satisfaction with the course. Educators and stakeholders should invest in strategies to improve instructor immediacy and presence in virtual learning environments and provide adequate resources and support for students. Additionally, future research can help to further our understanding of how to best support learners in virtual learning environments.