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Push or pull? Unpacking the social compensation hypothesis of Internet use in an educational context

Grieve, RM ORCID: 0000-0002-5211-4179, Kemp, NM ORCID: 0000-0002-8214-5427, Norris, K ORCID: 0000-0003-3661-2749 and Padgett, CR ORCID: 0000-0003-4398-4268 2017 , 'Push or pull? Unpacking the social compensation hypothesis of Internet use in an educational context' , Computers & Education, vol. 109 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2017.02.008.

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Individual differences such as social anxiety and extraversion have been shown to influenceeducation outcomes. However, there has been limited investigation of the relationshipbetween individual differences and attitudes towards online and offline learning. Thisstudy aimed to investigate for the first time how social anxiety and extraversion influencestudent attitudes to online and offline learning, specifically in relation to tertiary levelpractical activities. Based on the social compensation hypothesis, it was predicted thatstudents with higher levels of extraversion and lower levels of social anxiety would reportmore favourable attitudes to face-to-face learning activities. It was further predicted thatless extraverted and more socially anxious students would have more favourable attitudesto online learning activities. Undergraduate students (N ¼ 322, 67% female) completed theHEXACO-60 personality inventory, the Mini Social Phobia Inventory, and measures of attitudestowards online and offline activities. Two hierarchical multiple regressions wereconducted. The first revealed that neither extraversion nor social anxiety contributedsignificantly to preference for online practical activities. The second regression revealedthat greater emotionality, greater extraversion, greater conscientiousness, and lower levelsof social anxiety were associated with more favourable attitudes towards face-to-facepractical activities. In contrast to predictions, extraversion and social anxiety did notsignificantly contribute to attitudes to online learning activities. However, in line withpredictions, greater extraversion and lower levels of social anxiety were associated withmore favourable attitudes towards face-to-face practical activities. These findings indicatethat online learning activities have limited compensatory effects for students who experiencesocial discomfort, and that the social compensation hypothesis may apply within aneducational framework, but in unexpected ways.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Grieve, RM and Kemp, NM and Norris, K and Padgett, CR
Keywords: elearning; online learning; social compensation hypothesis; social anxiety; student centred learning; Internet; personality
Journal or Publication Title: Computers & Education
Publisher: Pergamon Press
ISSN: 0360-1315
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.compedu.2017.02.008
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

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