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Getting the Mix Right Again: An Updated and Theoretical Rationale for Interaction

Getting the Mix Right Again: An Updated and Theoretical Rationale for Interaction
Terry AndersonAthabasca University – Canada’s Open University No topic raises more contentious debate among educators than the role of interaction as a crucial component of the education process. This debate is fueled by surface problems of definition and vested interests of professional educators, but is more deeply marked by epistemological assumptions relative to the role of humans and human interaction in education and learning. The seminal article by Daniel and Marquis (1979) challenged distance educators to get the mixture right between independent study and interactive learning strategies and activities. They quite rightly pointed out that these two primary forms of education have differing economic, pedagogical, and social characteristics, and that we are unlikely to find a “perfect” mix that meets all learner and institutional needs across all curricula and content. Nonetheless, hard decisions have to be made. Defining and Valuing Interaction in Distance Education Figure 1.

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