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The relationship of graduate students' interpersonal needs with interaction preferences in distance learning

, Indiana State University, United States

Indiana State University . Awarded


This quantitative research investigated the relationship of graduate students' interpersonal needs with their interaction preferences in distance learning. The purpose of the investigation was to seek answers for the three research questions: (1) Do the subjects report some interpersonal needs in greater abundance than others? If so, what needs are dominant? (2) Are some types of interactions preferred more than others for distance education? If so, what interactions are preferred? (3) To what extent are the variables in the area of interpersonal needs related with the types of interactions preferred by the students?

The sample selected for this study consisted of eighty-nine graduate students enrolled in distance courses offered by the School of Education at Indiana State University during the spring and fall semesters of 1999. Each student was asked to complete the Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) questionnaire and the Student Interaction Preferences Questionnaire (SIPQ). The FIRO-B was used to record the subjects, interpersonal needs. The SIPQ measured the subjects, interaction preferences. Subjects were surveyed by mail in March, 2000. Fifty-six students returned the questionnaires. Responses from three of the students were incomplete and were discarded. Thus, a total of 53 paired surveys was used for this study.

The results of the statistical analysis using repeated-measure analysis of variance, paired t test, and Pearson Bivariate correlation indicated that (a) the subjects need more affection than control and inclusion; (b) the subjects most prefer learner-instructor interaction with learn-content interaction as their second choice, and learn-learner interaction is the least preferred; (c) the subjects interpersonal needs are significantly correlated with their interaction preferences.

The results of this study indicated the necessity to develop personalized instructions with more involvement of the instructor(s). Distance educators should provide more adequate academic and affective support to the learners throughout the learning process. Further study is recommended to explore the degree to which students, interpersonal needs influence their learning mode.


Guan, X. The relationship of graduate students' interpersonal needs with interaction preferences in distance learning. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana State University. Retrieved December 12, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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