Role of Peer Designed and Moderated Case Studies on Student Motivation in Asynchronous Online Discussions



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Asynchronous online discussion is one of the most common methods for course content discussion in online, hybrid and sometimes face to face courses. Learner participation in these discussions has been found to be the key to make this method a success. Therefore, student participation has been one of the most researched elements in online discussions in the field of online learning and e-learning. However, the majority of research have focused on the quantitative participation (e.g., how many times the learners logged in and how many times learners posted in the online discussions) and not on quality of participation (e.g., learners were very social and cognitively invested). The quality of participation has been in focus in the past decades with studies showing levels of cognitive involvement and more recent studies on various factors that contribute towards such participation. One of the factors that has been in the fore of research today is learner motivation in online discussions. Motivation has been found to be a critical element that predicts learner participation as well as their interaction and learning in an asynchronous online discussion. Studies on techniques and strategies that foster motivation and self-determination have been called for. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to see if peer moderated original case study discussions can foster motivation and thus students’ interaction and learning experiences in an asynchronous online discussion. Particularly, the focus was on looking at the relationship of peer designed and moderated case study discussions on motivation and the relationship between student motivation and their interaction and learning experiences. Self-determination theory for motivation and the community of inquiry model for interaction and learning experiences were used as the theoretical framework for this study. Data were gathered from a graduate level Instructional Design course. Students taking this course were participants in this study with due approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in the university. Survey design and quantitative content analysis were used to answer the key questions in this research study. The Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) built around the theory of self-determination is being used for survey design. The community of inquiry model is being used for quantitatively analyzing the online discourse corpora. Correlation analysis and standard multiple regression models were used to statistically analyze the data to answer the research questions. Findings from this study suggest that learner perceived value of peer designed and moderated case studies significantly predict their intrinsic motivation in the participation in online discussions. Peer moderated and designed case studies as an instructional strategy can greatly impact learner’s motivation. A high level of cognitive engagement and an open and risk free social communication using this instructional strategy in online discussions is also reported in this study.



Peer moderators, Online discussion, Online learning, Asynchronous discussion, Case studies, Motivation, Engagement, Intrinsic motivation