As we are re-designing the Vialogues application in order to improve its effectiveness in supporting educational dialogues, the following research is particularly relevant:
C. Clark, N. Strudler, and K. Grove (2015). Comparing Asynchronous and Synchronous Video vs. Text Based Discussions in an Online Teacher Education Course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Network, Vol. 19, Issue 3.
In this research, the authors compared a text-based discussion (TBD) versus a video-enabled discussion (VED) platform in terms of their support for distance learning experiences. The VED platform allowed the teachers and students to participate in synchronous video chat (similar to Google Hangouts) as well asynchronous video-based discussions (similar to Vialogues) and interact with each other. The assessment measures included surveys and interviews about the students' conceptions of peer and teacher presence during the course of study. And the conclusions are both synchronous and asynchronous video discussions can contribute to improved social and teaching presence. Although the research did not compare the impacts of synchronous versus asynchronous video discussion models, it's obvious that the hybrid of the two improves learning experiences significantly.
Below are a few quotations from the paper, which I think is important for us to think about and their implications for a potential re-design of Vialogues:
... all areas of social and teaching presence were higher for the VED than for the TBD.
... VED provided a better platform to communicate with the instructor
The ideal group size for discussions has been shown to be dependent upon the type of communication. For synchronous communications, group sizes of two to three are considered to be most effective, while group sizes of three to six are considered to be most effective for asynchronous discussions
... the lack of video led to a lack of connectedness due to the fact that “you don’t see someone.”
... video-enabled discussions were more effective at helping create social and teaching presence when compared with text-based discussion platforms. The VED was rated significantly higher than the TBD for all three social scale measures: sociability, social presence, and social space. The VED was also rated significantly higher for teaching presence.
... a blend of both asynchronous and synchronous video may result in increased outcomes over either format alone.