Social Presence

(Last Updated On: 13th January 2009)

Social presence is the degree to which an individual feels real or is seen as real while studying in an online context. The higher the degree of the learner’s social presence in a VLE, the lower the probability of the learner not finishing his/her studies.

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Stacey

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  • I could not agree more. Nevertheless, the probability you have been talking about depends on how comfortable a learner feels. To put it another way, it depends on how close these online tools to his own style of learning. Say, a learner enjoy taking notes or doing creative writing tasks. That means that most exercises have to be designed taking that circumstance into account whatever the aim is and it doesn’t matter whether an individual feels real or not. What is essential is the individual’s comfort.

  • Well, the point is that social presence is all about the human component, and not about the tools. You are less likely to feel comfortable writing if there is no audience to read and comment on what you have written. Likewise, retelling texts to yourself is less enjoyable than retelling them to a sympathetic listener, especially if the person is qualified to provide constructive feedback.
    According to research, Virtual Learning Environments that let you express yourself and communicate with real people as opposed to bots make you less likely to drop out. Knowing that there are real people out there who will read, listen to and respond to what you do online increases the degree of social presence and makes you like the experience more. Talking to yourself or a pre-programmed chat bot is less enjoyable and motivating than communicating with human teachers.

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