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True as life itself

July 4, 2011

Les résultats des études empiriques montrent que les outils de communication dits «asynchrones» procurent aux apprenants une expansion des moments possibles pour interagir sur une question déterminée. Mais les apprenants ont aussi l’impression que le caractère dynamique des échanges est limité, que ceux-ci perdent en pertinence s’ils sont trop décalés dans le temps, ce qui suscite un sentiment d’isolement. Par ailleurs, le délai de réponse pour obtenir une réponse à une question limite l’intérêt du recours à l’aide d’autrui.

[op. cit., p. 203]

[The results of empirical studies show that the asynchronous communication tools give the students plenty of margin for interaction regarding a certain problem. But the students also get the impression that the dynamic character of the exchanges is limited, as they may loose opportunity if the time delay is too long, accruing to the feeling of isolation. Somehow, the delay in the answer to a certain question limits the usefulness of calling others for help.]

The text above comes from the descriptive study of Dieumegard et al. (2006). It is interesting because of the method use: to follow directly a small number of students to get hints of the problems they would find during the homework activities. It is an interesting picture, that I deem should be explored by anybody working in distance education. The models may be as good as they want, but nothing is a simile for real life. Recommended reading, that’s for sure.

GDieumegard, PClouaire & SLeblanc (2006). L’organisation de l’activité d’étude en e-formation. La difficile synchronisation des acteurs. Distances & Savoirs, 4(2): 201- 222.

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