Use of Instructional Dialogue by University Students in a Distance Education Chemistry Course

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A distance education system may be viewed in terms of intrapersonal and interpersonal instructional dialogues that mediate the learning and instructional
resources that enable such dialogues. Instructional resources include self-instruction texts, tutorial sessions, instructor availability, Web sites, and more. This study
investigated the kinds of dialogues engaged in by Open University students and
the kinds of resources they used while studying an intermediate-level chemistry
course. Research objectives were to document (a) what study strategies if any,
involving which resources and dialogues, were generally used by students; (b)
what dialogue types, enabled through which resources, were specifically used by
students to overcome conceptual difficulties; and (c) how the use of resources and
dialogues in the chemistry course compared with students’ experiences in other
science courses. It was found that all students initially chose individual study
characterized by intrapersonal dialogue. Only when individual study failed did
students opt for interpersonal dialogue. This finding conflicts with the assumed
importance often ascribed to interpersonal dialogue by some distance education
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Distance Education : Revue de l'Éducation à Distance
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


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