An Integrative Review of the Effects of Social Presence on Distance Education


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Virginia Tech


Social presence has drawn great attention in the last three decades. A large number of studies attempted to prove that social presence exerted an effect on distance learning through including more interaction. This integrative review provided a comprehensive summary of current studies on social presence, identified problems in measuring social presence, and evaluated the effects of social presence on learning. Data were collected from 189 social presence studies in the area of distance education from 1976 to 2012. Data were analyzed qualitatively followed by a quantitative meta-analysis. This study revealed that social presence was still illusive and difficult to define. Due to its ambiguity, many doubts exist related to the measurement of social presence. The results of this study suggest future researchers should be cautious when advocating the importance of social presence in distance learning.



Social Presence, Distance Learning, Integrative Review, Meta-Analysis, Interaction