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Journal Article (Refereed)
July 2009

Maximising Social Interactions and Effectiveness within Distance Learning Courses: Cases from Construction

Ingirige, B & Goulding, J S 2009, 'Maximising Social Interactions and Effectiveness within Distance Learning Courses: Cases from Construction', Journal of Education in the Built Environment, 4(1), pp.75-99.


Advanced Internet technologies have revolutionised the delivery of distance learning
education. As a result, the physical proximity between learners and the learning providers
has become less important. However, whilst the pervasiveness of these technological
developments has reached unprecedented levels, critics argue that the student learning
experience is still not as effective as conventional face-to-face delivery. In this regard,
surveys of distance learning courses reveal that there is often a lack of social interaction
attributed to this method of delivery, which tends to leave learners feeling isolated due to a
lack of engagement, direction, guidance and support by the tutor. This paper defines and
conceptualises this phenomenon by investigating the extent to which distance-learning
programmes provide the social interactions of an equivalent traditional classroom setting. In
this respect, two distance learning case studies were investigated, covering the UK and
Slovenian markets respectively. Research findings identified that delivery success is strongly
dependent on the particular context to which the specific distance learning course is
designed, structured and augmented. It is therefore recommended that designers of distance
learning courses should balance the tensions and nuances associated with commercial
viability and pedagogic effectiveness.

Publication Details

Journal Name
Journal of Education in the Built Environment