Perceptions of interaction: A critical predictor in distance education


Journal Article


Fulford, C. P. & Zhang, S.


This study examined learner perceptions of interaction and satisfaction. The participants were 123 K-6 teachers in a Developmental Approaches in Science and Health program. Out of a 10-session course, sessions 2, 6, and 10 were examined. Significant correlations were found between perceptions of personal and overall interaction. Perceptions of personal interaction were a moderate predictor of satisfaction. The critical predictor of satisfaction was the perception of overall interaction. This study suggests that when learners perceive interaction to be high, they will have more positive satisfaction toward instruction than when interaction is perceived as low. Overall dynamics in interaction may have a stronger impact on learners' satisfaction than strictly personal participation. Vicarious interaction with the whole class may result in greater learner satisfaction than divided attention to overt engagement of each participant. However, perceived level of interaction and satisfaction seem to decline with increased exposure to interactive TV instruction.


Fulford, C. P., & Zhang, S. (1993). Perceptions of interaction: A critical predictor in distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 7, 8–21.