There are many ways to support interaction in WBLEs. How much is interaction needed as an important consideration? What kind of interaction and how may the interactions influence the learning process? All of these remains a question. The role of interactions has been widely studied in online learning and is considered central to a successful learning experience (Garrison and Cleveland-Innes 2005).
An example of how modelling impacts online learning is found in online discussions. Where high teacher presence combined with a course design that emphasized critical discourse, students engaged in much deeper and more meaningful learning.
Learner’s Characteristics for WBSL
Although many learner’s characteristics influence cognitive activity, four are especially significant from a social learning perspective, as they pertain to the nature of knowledge and the role of the learner: epistemological beliefs, individual learning styles, self-efficacy, and motivation.
The use of distance learning technologies to facilitate the learning process may have once been viewed as a “passing phase” in the litany of instructional technologies. Recent reports from leading think tank organizations such as the Pew Internet and American Life Project (2005) indicate that Internet technologies and their related uses, including learning, are anything but a passing phase; indeed, for many, Internet technologies are an integral component of the learning process in formal and informal contexts. Yet, what we have done in the past may no longer be sufficient to meet the needs and expectations of the 21st-century learner.
Social learning perspectives offer promising opportunities for extending and enhancing the design, development, and implementation of WBLEs. By leveraging the affordances of social learning perspectives, WBLEs may become even more viable and desirable for learning.