Exploring Students’ Online Learning Interaction Behaviors and Experiences: A Case Study





online learning, interaction behavior, online learning experience, learning analytics


This study chose an undergraduate course offered at a public university in Malaysia as the case to discover students’ unseen online interaction behaviors and experiences in order to obtain insights into ways to devise relevant online pedagogical approaches. The study employed the learning management system’s (LMS) analytics and the analysis of interactions within the social messaging app and virtual live classes to discover students’ online interaction behaviors, focusing mainly on student-content, student-instructor interactions, and student-student interactions. It also employed interviews and a survey to gain insights into students’ online learning experiences. The analysis and reflection of the derived online interaction behaviors and experiences reveal that students require conducive learning environments, regular check-ins on their progress and social-emotional well-being, and favor the learning flexibility afforded by asynchronous learning. It also provides insights into commendable pedagogical practices and reveals some considerations in virtual communication and virtual collaboration to improve students’ online interaction behaviors and experiences.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Chwen Jen Chen, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Chwen Jen Chen is a professor attached to the faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She specializes in learning design and technology, and actively leads and participates in various learning technology-related research and development projects. Her recent research focuses on educational data mining and pedagogical partnerships in online learning environments. She serves as the editorial board member of the Asian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (AJSoTL), published by the National University of Singapore.

Chee Siong Teh, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Chee Siong Teh is an associate professor in the faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. He has taught computer vision, artificial neural networks, computer graphics, computational intelligence and virtual reality courses. His research is mainly in computational intelligence, data visualization, machine learning, and virtual reality and has significantly contributed to developing multi-dimensional reduction and data visualization tools for non-linear data analysis. His recent work focuses on formulating a fuzzy causality discovery technique to afford personalized learning.


Al Tawil, Rima. 2019. “Nonverbal Communication in Text-based, Asynchronous Online Education.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 20 (1).

Anderson, Terry. 2004. “Towards a Theory of Online Learning.” Theory and Practice of Online Learning (2):109–19.

Anderson, Terry, ed. 2008. The Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Athabasca University Press.

Azlan, Che Ahmad, Jeannie Hsiu Ding Wong, Li Kuo Tan, Muhammad Shahrun Nizam A.D. Huri, Ngie Min Ung, Vinod Pallath, Christina Phoay Lay Tan, Chai Hong Yeong, and Kwan Hoong Ng. 2020. “Teaching and Learning of Postgraduate Medical Physics using Internet-based E-learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Case Study from Malaysia.” Physica Medica 80: 10–16.

Borge, Marcela, Yann Shiou Ong, and Carolyn Penstein Rosé. 2018. “Learning to Monitor and Regulate Collective Thinking Processes.” International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 13 (1): 61–92.

Burns, Adrienne, Peter Holford, and Nicholas Andronicos. 2020. “Enhancing Understanding of Foundation Concepts in First Year University STEM: Evaluation of an Asynchronous Online Interactive Lesson.” Interactive Learning Environments: 1–13.

Chung, Ellen, Geetha Subramaniam, and Laura Christ Dass. 2020. “Online Learning Readiness among University Students in Malaysia amidst COVID-19.” Asian Journal of University Education 16 (2): 45–58.

Dhawan, Shivangi. 2020. “Online Learning: A Panacea in the Time of COVID-19 Crisis.” Journal of Educational Technology Systems 49 (1): 5–22.

Durango, Sarahy, and Nathaniel von der Embse. 2020. “Supporting the Social-Emotional Wellbeing of Students During a Time of Stress.”

Fawns, Tim, Derek Jones, and Gillian Aitken. 2020. “Challenging Assumptions about ‘Moving Online’ in Response to COVID-19, and Some Practical Advice.” MedEdPublish 9 (83): 83.

Ginda, Michael, Michael C. Richey, Mark Cousino, and Katy Börner. 2019. “Visualizing Learner Engagement, Performance, and Trajectories to Evaluate and Optimize Online Course Design.” PLOS ONE 14 (5): e0215964.

Hasan, Naziya, and Naved Hassan Khan. 2020. “Online Teaching-learning during Covid-19 Pandemic: Students’ Perspective.” The Online Journal of Distance Education and e-Learning 8 (4): 202–13.

Heilporn, Géraldine, Sawsen Lakhal, and Marilou Bélisle. 2021. “An Examination of Teachers’ Strategies to Foster Student Engagement in Blended Learning in Higher Education.” International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 18 (1): 1–25.

Jonassen, David H. 1992. “Designing Hypertext for Learning.” In New Directions in Educational Technology, 123–30. Berlin: Springer.

Katzman, Neil F., and Michael P. Stanton. 2020. “The Integration of Social Emotional Learning and Cultural Education into Online Distance Learning Curricula: Now Imperative during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Creative Education 11 (9): 1561–71.

Kuo, Yu-Chun, Andrew E. Walker, Brian R. Belland, and Kerstin E. E. Schroder. 2013. “A Predictive Study of Student Satisfaction in Online Education Programs.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 14, (1): 16–39.

Le, Ha, Jeroen Janssen, and Theo Wubbels. 2018. “Collaborative Learning Practices: Teacher and Student Perceived Obstacles to Effective Student Collaboration.” Cambridge Journal of Education 48 (1): 103–22.

Lowenthal, Patrick R., Richard E. West, Leanna Archambault, Jered Borup, and Eric S. Belt. 2021. “Faculty Perceptions of Using Synchronous Video-based Communication Technology.” Online Learning Journal 25 (4): 74–103.

Martin, Florence, Ting Sun, and Carl D. Westine. “A Systematic Review of Research on Online Teaching and Learning from 2009 to 2018.” Computers & Education 159: 104009.

Maqableh, Mahmoud, and Mohammad Alia. 2021. “Evaluation Online Learning of Undergraduate Students under Lockdown amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: The Online Learning Experience and Students’ Satisfaction.” Children and Youth Services Review 128: 106160.

Marden, Mariolina Pais, and Jan Herrington. 2022. “Asynchronous Text-based Communication in Online Communities of Foreign Language Learners: Design Principles for Practice.” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 38 (2): 83–97.

Milovic, Alex, and Dingus, Rebecca. 2021. How to Not Disappear Completely: Using Video-based Discussions to Enhance Student Social Presence in an Online Course. Marketing Education Review 31(4): 311–21.

Moore, Michael G. 1989. “Three Types of Interaction.” American Journal of Distance Education 3 (2):1–7.

Murray, Meg Coffin, Jorge Pérez, Debra Geist, and Alison Hedrick. 2012. “Student Interaction with Online Course Content: Build It and They Might Come.” Journal of Information Technology Education: Research 11 (1): 125–40.

National Research Council. 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. National Academies Press.

Olivier, Benjamin. 2016. “The Impact of Contact Sessions and Discussion Forums on the Academic Performance of Open Distance Learning Students.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 17, (6): 75–88.

Phirangee, K. 2016. Students' Perceptions of Learner-Learner Interactions that Weaken a Sense of Community in an Online Learning Environment. Online Learning 20 (4), 13–33.

Rassaei, Ehsan. 2022. “Recasts During Mobile-mediated Audio and Video Interactions: Learners’ Responses, their Interpretations, and the Development of English Articles.” Computer Assisted Language Learning 35 (1–2): 114–40.

Shackelford, Jo L., and Maxwell, Marge. 2012. Sense of Community in Graduate Online Education: Contribution of Learner to Learner Interaction. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 13 (4): 228–49.

Shen, Chun-Yi. 2004. “The Impact of Cultural Factors in Distance Learning: A Reviewing Research.” In EdMedia+ Innovate Learning: 3743–48. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Sia, Joseph Kee-Ming, and Adamu Abbas Adamu. 2020. “Facing the Unknown: Pandemic and Higher Education in Malaysia.” Asian Education and Development Studies.

Simamora, Roy Martin. 2020. “The Challenges of Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Essay Analysis of Performing Arts Education Students.” Studies in Learning and Teaching 1 (2): 86–103.

Smith, Glenn G., Ferguson, David, and Caris, Mieke. 2001. “Teaching College Courses Online Versus Face-to-face.” The Journal 28 (9): 18–22.

Wang, Feng Hsu. 2017. “An Exploration of Online Behaviour Engagement and Achievement in Flipped Classroom Supported by Learning Management System.” Computers & Education 114: 79–91.

Wang, Chih-Hsuan, David M. Shannon, and Margaret E. Ross. 2013. “Students’ Characteristics, Self-regulated Learning, Technology Self-efficacy, and Course Outcomes in Online Learning.” Distance Education 34 (3): 302–23.

Wu, Xuemei, Zhenzhen He, Mingxi Li, Zhongmei Han, and Changqin Huang. 2022. “Identifying Learners’ Interaction Patterns in an Online Learning Community.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19 (4): 2245.

Zaltsman, Rita. 2009. “Communication Barriers and Conflicts in Cross-cultural E-learning.” In Learning Culture and Language through ICTs: Methods for Enhanced Instruction, 318–30. IGI Global.

Zimmerman, Tekeisha Denise. 2012. “Exploring Learner to Content Interaction as a Success Factor in Online Courses.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 13 (4): 152–65.

A screenshot of a Zoom video call featuring a shared screen of graphs and charts.




How to Cite

Chen, Chwen Jen, and Chee Siong Teh. 2022. “Exploring Students’ Online Learning Interaction Behaviors and Experiences: A Case Study”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 10 (December). https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.10.38.