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Participation in Online Courses and Interaction With a Virtual Agent

Keywords: online learning, learner participation, online interaction, conversational agent


Online learning environments could be well understood as a multifaceted phenomenon affected by different aspects of learner participation including synchronous/asynchronous interactions. The aim of this study was to investigate learners’ participation in online courses, synchronous interaction with a conversational virtual agent, their relationships with learner performance, and the participation/interaction factor identification. To examine learner participation, we collected learning management system (LMS) log data that included the frequency and length of course access, discussion board postings, and final grades. To examine synchronous learner interaction, we collected learners’ conversation logs from the conversational agent. We calculated the quantity and quality of discussion postings and conversations with the agent. The results showed that the frequency and length of course access, the quantity and quality of discussion postings, and the quality of conversation with the agent were significantly associated with the learner achievement. This study also identified two factors that comprise online learning participation and interaction: interaction quality and LMS-oriented interaction.

Author Biography

Donggil Song, Sam Houston State University
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
How to Cite
Song, D., Rice, M., & Oh, E. Y. (2019). Participation in Online Courses and Interaction With a Virtual Agent. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20(1). Retrieved from
Research Articles