Communication and Social Presence: The Impact on Adult Learners’ Emotions in Distance Learning

April 13, 2013

The aim of this work is to examine the role of communication and social presence in distance learning environments and their impact on the emotions of adult learners. A study was conducted at the Hellenic Open University (HOU), using a questionnaire that was completed by 94 undergraduate and postgraduate students. More than 94 % of the students felt the need to communicate with their instructor and fellow students, but less actually did. More than 50 % of the students experienced both positive and negative emotions, while women were more prone to negative feelings. Negative emotions motivated students mainly to contact the tutor, while both negative and positive emotions motivated them to contact their fellow students. After communication, the majority of students felt positive emotions more intensely and negative ones less intensely, due to support and encouragement that they received from their tutor and fellow students. More than 80 % of the participants considered social presence as an important element of communication during their course, related to positive emotions. Regardless of the level of the course, age and marital status, quality student–tutor and student-student communication in the Hellenic Open University has an important effect on students’ emotional well being.

The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning

Full Article