Do media richness and visual anonymity influence learning? A comparative study using Skype™.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This study examines the differences between audio conferencing and
traditional face-to-face learning. We investigated whether the characteristics
of audio conferencing – media richness (Media Richness Theory, Daft &
Lengel, 1984), media naturalness (Media Naturalness Hypothesis, Kock,
2005) and visual anonymity-determine students' learning efficacy,
perception, satisfaction, participation, and willingness to take risks. 42
undergraduates were randomly allocated to face-to-face and to audio
conferencing groups, receiving a 20-minutes lesson in groups of three. As we
hypothesized, there was no significant difference between students'
achievement and perception of learning. Distance learning through audio
conferencing was as effective as face-to-face learning. Significant
differences, in favor of face-to-face communication, were found in the
emotional-experiential aspects of learning: amount of students' attention and
interest, learning satisfaction, and enjoyment from the interaction with tutor
or peers. The findings indicated that visual anonymity decreased the fear of
criticism which in turn, increased the amount of participation and risk-taking.
These findings are explained in terms of differences in media naturalness and
of the effect of visual anonymity. The results suggest a distinction between
the cognitive and emotional-experiential aspects of perceived learning.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationLearning in the Technological Era
PublisherThe Open University of Israel
StatePublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Do media richness and visual anonymity influence learning? A comparative study using Skype™.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this