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Journey through a maze: measuring learner-learner interaction

What and how are we measuring in research of learner-learner interaction? Irena Galikyan (PhD candidate at ICLON) defends her dissertation on this subject on 14 April.

More and more data on learner-learner interaction

Learner–learner interaction refers to communication between learners enrolled in a course. In digital learning environments, learner-learner interactions are being widely ‘imposed’ on learners with the expectation that these interactions will come to compensate for the limited instructor presence when necessary. This inevitably results in more and more data on learner-learner interactions and more and more analyses of these data. However, the multitudes of data and analyses do not result in clear answers on the role learner-learner interaction plays in learning in digital learning environments.


Galikyan’s dissertation examines how the multidimensionality of learner­learner interaction data and the multifacetedness of learner-learner interaction itself impact the measurement of learner-learner interaction in digital learning environments.

Despite the abundance of learner interaction data, we are still not able to spot the good, the bad and the ugly. On the other hand, the dissertations demonstrates the intricacy with which the different aspects of learner–learner interaction, captured by the different approaches to the measurement of learner–learner interaction, interdepend in learning in digital learning environments. 

Journey through a maze

Galikyan concludes that the measurement of learner-learner interaction often resembles a journey through a maze. Researchers must be ready to start manoeuvring through the maze and choose appropriate pathways the moment they decide to study learner-learner interaction in digital learning environments. The choices are almost infinite and are sometimes so small that may appear insignificant. Also, each and every choice will carry its own weight and will impact the measurement of learner–learner interaction. 

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