This paper reports on a causal-comparative study that investigated potential differences in students’ participation in asynchronous online learning environments according to their professional experience. In the study, 893 messages from 77 students in an online master’s program in human resource development (HRD) at a large U.S. university were analyzed. The research shed light on an important component of online education by illuminating ways in which novices and experienced students tend to relate to each other, the instructor, and the content of specific topics. Findings show evidence of both novices and experienced students using this medium in a very similar way when dealing with asynchronous tools. Discussion and recommendations are presented.
MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching