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Types of Interactivity

Within online learning (and distance learning in general), frequently there is mention of interaction or interactivy. For example, one may discuss the interactivity of an online course. Within the research literature, four types of interactivity have been defined.

In 1989, Michael G. Moore proposed three types of interactivity.1:

  1. Learner-Content: interaction between the learner and the content or subject of study.
  2. Learner-Instructor: interaction between the learner and the expert who prepared the subject material, or some other expert acting as instructor.
  3. Learner-Learner: interaction between one learner and other learners, alone or in group settings, with or without the real-time presence of an instructor.

Then in 1994, Daniel Hillman introduced a fourth type2:

  1. Learner-Technology or Learner-Interface: interaction between the learner and the technologies used to deliver instruction.

When interactivity is discussed on this web site, we have attempted to specify one of these specific types and intend it to mean the definitions specified above. In many cases, we have substituted student for learner and teacher for instructor.

1 Moore, Michael G. (1989).Three Types of Interaction. American Journal of Distance Education. 3(2). Retrieved from: http://www.ajde.com/Contents/vol3_2.htm#editorial
2 Hillman, Daniel. Willis, Deborah, & Gunawardena, Charlotte. (1994). Learner-Interface interaction in Distance Education: An Extension of Contemporary Models and Strategies for Practitioners. American Journal of Distance Education. 8(2).