Computer-supported instructional communication

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According to Rummel and Krämer (2010), “Research on instructional communication focuses on the study of interaction in learning environments (Mottet et al. 2005). Characteristic goals when analyzing instructional communication are: (1) understanding variables associated with successful communication in instructional settings and (2) deducing principles in order to design instructional communication more effectively.”

See also: computer-supported collaborative learning, computer-mediated communication, virtual learning environment, learning environment, e-tutoring, ...

Obviously, computer-supported instructional communication has the advantage that it enables learning situations where teachers and students are not co-located in one place. Similarly, it makes asynchronous learning situations possible. One could argue, however, that communication with either a mediated human instructor or a computer tutor may also have negative effects as it strips information (e.g., social cues) from the instructional communication that might be important for learning (Bromme et al. 2005). Yet, looking at results from research on computer-mediated communication (Postmes et al. 1998; Walther 1996), we can expect that communicative restrictions inherent in the setting will either lead to creative inventions and adaptations by the human learners or might even prove to be beneficial because distracting aspects are removed. In other words, the instructional situation might even be enhanced by the elimination of aspects that are present in face-to-face instruction (Dillenbourg, 2005). In fact, in a computer-supported communication situation, there is even the possibility to customize cognitive or social cues in a systematic and controlled manner.

(Rummel and Krämer, 2010: 2)


  • Nikol Rummel and Nicole Krämer (2010) (eds). Special Issue: Computer-supported instructional communication. A multidisciplinary account of relevant factors, Educational Psychology Review 22 (1). ISSN 1573-336X


  • Bromme, H., Hesse, F. W., & Spada, H. (2005). Barriers, biases and opportunities of communication and cooperation with computers: Introduction and overview. In R. Bromme, F. W. Hesse, & H. Spada (Eds.), Barriers and biases in computer-computer-mediated knowledge communication and how they may be overcome (pp. 1-14). New York: Springer.
  • Dillenbourg, P. (2005). Designing biases that augment socio-cognitive interactions. In R. Bromme, F. W. Hesse, & H. Spada (Eds.), Barriers and biases in computer-mediated knowledge communication and how they may be overcome (pp. 243-264). New York: Springer.
  • Mottet, T. P., Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (2005). Handbook of instructional communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Postmes, T., Spears, R., & Lea, M. (1998). Breaching or building social boundaries? SIDE-effects of computer-mediated communication. Communication Research, 25, 689-715
  • Rummel, Nikol and Nicole Krämer (2010). Computer-Supported Instructional Communication: A Multidisciplinary Account of Relevant Factors, Educational Psychology Review 22:1–7 DOI 10.1007/s10648-010-9122-y
  • Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23, 3-43.--------

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