Learning to speak in the digital age: an examination of instructional conditions for teaching public speaking online
This dissertation study quantitatively measured the performance of 345 students who received public speaking instruction through an online platform presented in one of six experimental conditions in order to explore the ability of online lectures to replicate the characteristics of instructor presence and learner interaction traditionally associated with face-to-face public speaking courses. The study investigated the following research questions:
RQ1: How does the visibility of an instructor in a public speaking video lesson affect students' perception of presence?
RQ2: How does the visibility of an instructor in a public speaking video lesson affect student learning?
RQ3: How do self-explanation (Constructive) and note-taking (Active) types of learning activities affect students' perception of presence compared to passive lessons when presented in a video lesson?
RQ4: How do self-explanation (Constructive) and note-taking (Active) types of learning activities affect student learning compared to passive lessons when presented in a video lesson?
Additionally, the study collected qualitative feedback from participants on their experience in order to improve understanding of how to effectively design lectures for public speaking courses.
Results of the study were unable to statistically distinguish between students assigned to treatments that varied in both modality and level of activity. However, a significant finding of this study is that learning gains and students' perception of instructor presence were positive across all conditions.
The lack of significant differences by treatment indicates that the design attributes at the center of the study may be unnecessary considerations for developing content for online learning. Consequently, the improved performance of participants regardless of their assigned treatment in this study identifies a limitation to the application of Media Equation Theory and the Interactive-Constructive-Active-Passive (ICAP) Framework for designing online learning content for public speaking students as well as identifies two key implications: 1) exposure to an online lesson can increase learning; and 2) exposure to an online lesson can serve as a cost-effective alternative for producing lessons in public speaking courses.