Online Learning Environment

Online Learning Environment: Redesigning Social Presence

The traditional teaching methods are altered by online learning, but the overall objectives—to encourage learning—remain the same. The necessity for educators to establish techniques, plans, and resources to provide an online learning environment that encourages peer communication and cooperation is highlighted by this substantial shift in the way students learn.

The online learning environment must offer a secure and welcoming community space that fosters student learning and communication, just like a traditional classroom.

Read: How To Use Animation in the Creation of A Pleasant eLearning Environment: 6 Tips

Learning Theory Foundations For The Online Classroom

Teachers are reviewing current learning theories and their appropriate application in the online learning environment in light of the new frontier of online learning. There are overlaps between constructivist, behaviorist, and cognitivist ideas in the structure and methodology of online learning.

The three schools of thinking are utilized as a learning taxonomy, according to Ertmer and Newby (1993).

Knowing, combining, and putting into practice the many behaviorists, cognitivist, and constructivist learning methodologies will help the educator create a welcoming online community. A theoretical model created by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) outline the elements of an active online community, including cognitive presence, teaching presence, and social presence (Anderson 2008).

The teacher’s presence is in charge of the process and structure of the educational experience in many different ways, and cognitive presence helps the formation of important skills.

Learning Is Increased in Online Classrooms When There Is Social Presence

Student engagement and readiness to take risks in the classroom are both increased by strong community feelings. Three different forms of learning interactions—academic, collaborative, and social interaction—were studied for their influence on learning outcomes in an online environment by Jung, Choi, Lim, and Leem (1999).

According to the study’s findings, the cooperative interaction group expressed the highest level of fulfillment with their learning process, and the social and collaborative interaction groups participated more frequently in posting their opinions to the discussion board than the academic interaction group. The social interaction group also outperformed the other groups.

The social environment fosters an environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and exchanging ideas. Having this social presence and engaging in social interaction is essential for fostering connectivity in an online setting.

Students receive the support and help they need by creating a supportive, engaging online learning community, eliminating the sense of isolation that is frequently associated with an online learning paradigm. A positive social presence influences student morale and learning, just like in a physical classroom.

Developing a Positive Social Presence in an Online Learning Environment: Strategies

A social presence paradigm for fostering community and connections online was put forth by Dickers, Whiteside, and Lewis in 2012. This approach pinpoints five essential factors for encouraging learners to participate actively in their own and their peers’ online learning experiences.

They are an effective association, community cohesiveness, interaction acuity, knowledge/experience, and teacher participation. In order to create an active social presence in the online learning environment, five strategies are built from these fundamental components.

How To Share Experience And Knowledge

Teachers and students can share extra tools and skills to communicate and demonstrate learning thanks to shared knowledge and experience. According to O’Donnell, Dansereau, Hall, and Rocklin (1987), students working in structured dyads were less anxious about their tasks than those who worked alone.

A virtual support system is built to enable access to sharing of knowledge and expertise by opening up options for peer tutoring and collaborative sharing through an online forum of debates, hangouts, and blogs.

How to Encourage Student Interaction And Engagement

Effective association is one strategy to boost emotional interaction and student engagement. To express the various emotions that can be seen and transmitted online, online teachers need to discover alternate means of communication between all users.

A participant can give their textual voice and emotion in their online communication by using different forms of script, bold words, underlined words, and emoticons. By encouraging users to create personalized avatars, like Bitmoji, messaging programs will enable animated written communication.

Online announcements that highlight and personalize students are another means of fostering affective attachment. The formation of the emotional connection will also be aided by giving all participants access to discussion boards and video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype, which will encourage student engagement and interaction.

How to Foster Interaction and Connection Among Students

Positive student-teacher interactions enhance learning, increasing engagement, respect for oneself and others as well as academic success. The most effective tool accessible to secondary instructors who want to promote a healthy learning environment is a positive relationship with our pupils, according to Thompson (1998). (p. 6).

Teachers in traditional classrooms employ the technique of interaction intensity to find ways to interact and form personal connections with their students. Teachers and students can connect and communicate online thanks to the online learning environment.

There are a variety of social environments, such as Seesaw, Google Classroom, and Edmodo, for interacting safely with students and delivering a dynamic environment, depending on the age group of your pupils.

How to Increase Community Interaction And Cohesion

Online learning environments, like traditional face-to-face classrooms, place a premium on community cohesion. For students to interact and socialize through specially created virtual forums, including cooperative virtual field trips, they need space and time. social community blogs and virtual hangouts.

Giving students several chances for informal engagement and communication fosters the growth of an online learning community. Teachers can design an introductory course that includes peer interviews, biographies posted online, and other personal information to start the growth of student connection and familiarity.

A shared virtual area, such as Google Classroom or Blackboard, is necessary to aid in the implementation of the introduction unit because it may be used for announcements, open forum discussions, and event calendars. Digital technologies like FlipGrid can be utilized in addition to the shared area to encourage question and response using a video format, resulting in an audio-video “web” debate. It promotes the growth of community cohesion and interaction to offer various forums for student collaboration and communication.

Instructional Interaction Techniques

The level of instructor interaction and involvement describes how much the instructor puts into the student’s education. The online learning environment offers a variety of instruments for conducting regular communication and providing feedback, which are essential components of the relationship between teaching and learning.

With the use of technological resources like video blogs, online chats, screencasts, texts, and emails, instructors can communicate with their students in a variety of ways. The contact between the student and teacher in an online learning environment is not limited by time or geography, giving more diversified chances for feedback and education. This is something that a traditional classroom cannot offer.


The future of instructional design does not include online learning. It is right now. All participants must be socially engaged and interactive for the development of a supportive online learning environment to be effective. By putting the strategies into practice, social presence will be purposefully designed into an online learning environment.

Students are developing the abilities and connections necessary for ongoing development and cohesion among all participants by creating a community of learning and sharing. Due to the rapid expansion of online learning, there is an urgent need for active engagement on several fronts, including the fusion of 20th and 21st-century learning theories and the virtualization of traditional classroom practices.


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