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The Principle of Vicarious Interaction in Computer-Mediated Communications
Article

, Arizona State University, United States

IJET Volume 7, Number 3, ISSN 1077-9124 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

Prior research has identified four kinds of interaction that affect the learning process in distance education (Hillman, Willis, & Gunawardena, 1994; Moore, 1989). This article defines, characterizes, and describes a fifth form of interaction of particular importance to certain learners, especially within the context of computer-mediated communication (CMC). This newly defined concept is referred to as "vicarious interaction." During a pilot study, the author identified students as "direct interactors," "vicarious interactors," "actors," or "non-actors" (Sutton, 1999). Within this framework, the learning psychology associated with the process of vicarious interaction is comparatively analyzed. It is generally accepted that participatory interaction by students directly affects educational success; however, social and psychological characteristics of individual students often combine to inhibit their direct interaction. This article presents the principle that direct interaction is not necessary for all students, and that those who observe and actively process interactions between others will benefit through the process of vicarious interaction.

Citation

Sutton, L.A. (2001). The Principle of Vicarious Interaction in Computer-Mediated Communications. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 7(3), 223-242. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved September 23, 2019 from .

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