This inquiry focussed on a single unit of analysis: TeleTuks Schools, a community outreach initiative of the University of Pretoria, South Africa and is classified as a case study. It sought to explain why despite technology that permits bi-directional oral communication during televised instruction, learner participation was poor. The exploration of literature related to instructional television (ITV) and social communication, ensured a richer understanding of ITV as delivery mode as well as potential reasons for low responsivity during telelessons. It also raised awareness of the particular challenges of utilising ITV in a developing country context. This inquiry was informed by an interpretivist paradigm and the theoretical stance related to a synthesis of several communication models designed for mass media while the concept interaction as a key element of instructional communication was also dissected. Initially, a small-scale quantitative approach, established how prevalent poor participation was while rich experiential interview and video data identified why learners refrained from participating overtly. The use of Atlas.tiTM to systematically analyse the volume of unstructured data as a single unit, not only facilitated analysis but also enhanced the validity of the inquiry. An inductive analysis of the research data generated three significant and interrelated themes: Paradoxical perceptions, Presenter nescience, and Problematic practicalities and partnerships. These accounted for why learners did not respond as expected during televised instructional episodes. Key findings suggested that the rate of learner participation during telelessons was not influenced by an isolated factor as initially anticipated, but by a combination of variables. Technical and methodological design limitations were complicated by ineffective communication skills on the part of both presenters and viewers. Incongruence between the findings and initial suppositions added to an overarching sense of mismatch and led to the proposal of a theory linked to instructional dissonance i.e. the ignorance or denial of distortions that negatively affect communication between the instructor and student. Instructional communication is successful but not meaningful as a mismatch of sense or utility occurs. Recommendations for theory and practice are deemed applicable to mediated instructional contexts. Research avenues for further exploration relating to interaction in blended learning environments have been suggested.
Thesis (PhD (Curriculum Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.