Isabella Ilievski

Social Dependent, Independent Learners and Their Online Learning

April 6, 2021   /  

Student Name: Isabella Ilievski
Majors: Psychology, Education
Advisor: Dr. Michelle Colvin

The recent increase of online learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an interest in understanding the most beneficial way to teach students online. The lack of social interaction in an online learning setting may create an obstacle for students who depend on social interaction to learn. Previous research has found that providing students with multiple routes of delivering content promotes learning (Mayer, 2014; Nancekivell et al., 2020; Paivio, 2014). This study aims to explore social dependent and independent learning styles and different content delivery formats to assess their learning. A total of 75 college students were randomly given either a text passage or a video format, a learning assessment, and the Social Dependence Learning Scale to categorize their learning style into social dependent, social independent or neutral. The results indicate that social dependent learners scored significantly higher on the content quiz when given the video instead of the text passage. These findings suggest that using video content delivery in an online learning environment can support social dependent students and do not impact social independent students. Future studies could investigate face-to-face interactions versus video, use different learning style assessments, or replicate this study and increase the sample size. This study can be beneficial for educators when designing their online class instruction and help them support students who may be at a disadvantage learning online.

Isabella will be online to field comments on April 16: 4-6 pm EDT (PST 1pm-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening).

71 thoughts on “Social Dependent, Independent Learners and Their Online Learning”

  1. Congratulations, Bella, on a fascinating project! It is such a pleasure to see your hard work! Brava!

  2. Congrats! You are going to help change so many lives for the better. Way to Go, Bella!! I am so very proud of you and your thorough research.
    Lots of Love, Aunt Valerie

  3. When preparation meets opportunity, you have just paved your own path. And in your case, dear Isabella, that path leads to the recognition, representation, and benefit of others. Your skills and passion are needed.

    This is excellent work – CONGRATULATIONS!

    Know that you have very proud friends –
    Renee’ Watkins, Tom & Moxie Trovato

  4. It was a pleasure to see you succeed in such a timely and fascinating project Bella! It is great to see your hard work shared today.

    1. Thank you so much Dr. Colvin. Couldn’t have done it without your guidance!

  5. Congrats, Bella! This is certainly a topic most of us can relate to due to this past year. Do you have thoughts on why there were so many more social dependent learners than social independent learners?

    1. Thanks Emma! One thought I had about why there were more social dependent learners in my sample is that the participant pool came from the College of Wooster. A Wooster student could be more likely to rely on social interaction when learning because our curriculum tends to incorporate collaboration and discussion which could attract those type of students when deciding on their college. This is just one potential reason, but there could be others!

  6. Such interesting work and research Bella! Congratulations on accomplishing all of this! As part of your research did you have any students who self-identified with learning differences so that you were able to look at learning styles relative to delivery for those with identified learning differences? That would be an interesting study variable as well! Great job!!

    1. Thank you! That would be an interesting aspect. I didn’t have the participants identify other learning differences, but I would think they also would have an impact on how they perceived the text passage or video. Maybe in another study in the future, I could look at this!

  7. Thanks for sharing this interesting work Bella. I’m wondering how you think the level of engagement with or in the video matters to your outcome. For instance, the Edgenuity platform used by the WCSD this year had a video component for nearly every lesson – but it was mainly a person reading slides. I imagine that the video you used was much more engaging for the learner (given that it was made by Nat Geo). How much do you think that factors into your findings and how might that inform teachers when/if they need to produce online content?

    1. Thank you Dr. Stav! I do think level of engagement of the video contributes to the learning outcome. My research incorporated certain principles that identify beneficial aspects to include in multimedia content which directed the decision for which video I chose. The video I used had animations, voice over, text pop-ups and other aspects that made it more engaging than someone just reading slides. I think a future study could be done to test the level of engagement of the video and whether it has a significant effect on learning. My hypothesis would be that the more engaging the video, the higher the learning.

  8. Congrats! I enjoyed reading this and it is a relevant topic. I wonder, do you think there is a way to know how the participants that are neutral are affected? Is it possible their scores are somewhere between the social dependent and social independent learners’ scores?

    1. Thank you! I was able to see how the neutral were affected. Their scores were in the middle of the social dependent and social independent scores for the video learning condition. For the text passage condition, the neutral were closer to the social independent than the social dependent scores.

      The middle 10 points of the Social Dependence Scale was how I determined the neutral learners because I didn’t feel it suitable to categorize them as either social dependent or social independent learners if their scores were so close to the other category.

  9. Hi Bella! Great work! I’ve been thinking a lot about the online learning environment and how it’s impacting learners. It’s great to see that there are ways to make online learning better for students. What a nice and relevant study!

    1. Thank you! I found it helpful and applicable to the current learning environment for most students.

  10. Great job, Bella! I’m so happy you’ll be able to continue examining the intersection of education and technology in graduate school.

    1. Thank you! Me too! I’m very excited for what I’m going to be learning next!

  11. Congratulations, Bella!!! So proud of you! What was the most challenging part of your project and what did IS teach you about yourself as a person?

    1. Thanks Matt! The most challenging part was probably organizing all the different aspects because I used different concepts that needed to be tied together and make sense. As a person, my research taught me the importance of preparation and planning my thoughts out. I would get excited about information I was finding, but I had to slow down and plan out what I was going to write so it wasn’t just a string of ideas.

  12. This is a very interesting, and very necessary study on which you ae commenting. I am very pleased to
    have been able to read about it.

    love to you,
    Grandpa Gene

  13. Wow!! My little brain is tired from reading all of your report! Good thing I am not one of the
    upcoming students. But, I am certainly impressed with my granddaughter, Isabella!! Way to
    go, honey: The world is waiting for your expertise!!!! Love Granma Rosemary

  14. Thank you for sharing your project! This is a unique IS with many implications that can help inform teaching for years to come. I hope you are able to bring this research with you in your future endeavours as it surely will be beneficial for students, parents and teachers. Congratulations, Bella!! I hope you are proud of your work – the time and effort you put in to your IS shows!

  15. Amazing job Bella! Such an important topic and you did such a great job researching it! Miss you!

  16. Bella,

    Very relevant research. We know that “fit” is everything for learners, learning style, and learning mode. I think the future of research like this apppies to students with “learning differences” as well as to virtual teaching. Fran Hall (Matt’s Grandmother)

    1. Thanks Fran! Yes, I completely agree. It will be interesting to see where the research leads when relating learning differences, styles, and modes for an online education environment.

  17. Spectacular work, Isabella!! Studying all those different learning theories must have been fascinating, as well as, crafting your own research parameters. Figuring out how best to support students to maximize learning potential in an online environment is so relevant today and for the future. Do you have an idea as to the next step that you would like to pursue with your research? Was there anything that surprised you during your research? So very proud of the tremendous dedication you put into your Senior Independent Study !!

    1. Thank you! To continue this research, I would want to increase my sample size of the independent learners to really see if the results are consistent with more participants. I would also want to see the differences between online learning through a video and in-person learning. I was pleasantly surprised that my results showed such a significant benefit for social dependent learners to use video content delivery. While I thought they would benefit, I didn’t expect it to be such a difference.

  18. Congratulations! This is a super relevant and important topic, I enjoyed reading about your work!

  19. This is interesting research, Bella. How has this experience informed the way you currently and will teach? Congratulations!

    1. Thank you Dr. Ozar! The entire research experience promoted a sense of inquiry in reading and learning about possible new developments and teaching strategies that I can have in my toolbox for teaching. This specific study and results informed how I currently teach and will teach by showing how much video content delivery can benefit different types of learners.

  20. Thank you for sharing this information. I think this will be an important topic in the coming years. I noticed many of your participants are Social Dependent. From your studies and from your experience of student teaching, do you think traditional schooling favors SD or SI learners and how do you think a teacher can balance their lessons to reach both types of students?

    1. Thank you Kristin! I think traditional learning has started to favor SD learners because there has been more research on the benefits of collaboration and social interaction learning strategies when learning. However, this asks the question of whether this disadvantages the students who may learn more from independent work? It would be an interesting study to see if a traditional learning environment would yield similar results.

  21. Bella,

    This research is incredibly important and timely. As more and more schooling (at least for older students) transitions into virtual methods of delivery, your work is essential for allowing students to do their best. I’m so proud of you!

    What was your hypothesis? Were you surprised by any of your findings?

    1. Thanks Laura! My hypotheses were that social dependent learners would score higher with the video learning condition, social independent learners would score higher overall, and the video learning condition would have higher learning assessment scores. While my hypotheses were evidenced in my findings, the significance of the results of the social dependent learners scoring higher with the video was pleasantly surprising.

  22. Good job, Bella! This is very interesting with all your great research!
    Love, Meagan

  23. Dear sweet Isabella!

    Kæmpe stort tillykke!
    How time flies! Seems like just yesterday we had your great company for weekly dinners in Holte.

    I wish you a wonderful break before next part of your journey begins! I am certain you will do great in this also.

    Hope to see you soon, somewhere!

    Love from all of us in DK

  24. Hi Isabella,
    Great job on such a relevant topic in these times!!! With so many in the adult workforce also dealing with remote interaction so suddenly, it would be interesting to study the effects on that aspect as well to see if there is any correlation.


    1. Thank you! Yes, I do think with the change to remote work, adults are also struggling with the lack of social interaction.

    1. I didn’t run a manipulation check because I tried to adhere for other contributing factors that could affect my dependent variable of the learning assessment. I also tried to make the experiment straightforward with a learning recall assessment of multiple choice and a self-assessment learning style scale.

  25. Isabella – this research and analysis is intriguing and clearly an area you can expand upon and utilize in your future work. I think there is such a huge gap in teaching method customization and the individual needs of a student, this research strengthens the argument for closing that gap. You have developed into an amazing student and now teacher. This world needs people with passion, commitment and drive like you and I know that all you touch will benefit from their experiences with you.
    Proud to be in your corner.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments! I really appreciate your support!

  26. PROUD, PROUD, PROUD!! You have the AURA…You always have… keep going, You WILL change the World!!!


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