Today, students in higher education likely come into contact with different modes of learning, e.g. online learning, blended learning, and, increasingly, hybrid learning. To the extent that communication is mediated by technology in these learning modes, students can experience varying degrees of social presence with regard to their peers. Social presence refers to the feeling that others are ‘real’ and ‘close’ despite the physical separation. Especially in learning scenarios that require communication and collaboration, social presence is a crucial consideration. Despite this, research on social presence is fragmented and many other relevant theoretical accounts, while potentially informative, have been neglected.

This paper, coauthored by Karel Kreijns, Jane Yau, Joshua Weidlich, and Armin Weinberger, published in Frontiers in Education, Section Digital Education, attempts to provide a comprehensive account of social presence in online, blended, and hybrid learning. To achieve this, it pulls together several relevant theories: Social Information Processing Theory, Construal Level Theory, and Telepresence Theory. It provides an integrated account from which several new hypotheses arise, which may foster necessary future research at the intersection of social psychology, education, and computer-mediated communication.

Suggested citation:

Kreijns, K., Yau, J., Weidlich, J., & Weinberger, A. (2024). Toward a comprehensive framework of social presence f0r online, hybrid, and blended learning. Frontiers in Education, Section Digital Education.