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Learning through Online Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication among Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Conceptual Discourse

Aevent Koh Kian Seng, Jasmine Anak Jain, Logendra Stanley Ponniah, and Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan

Abstract—This is a conceptual paper on the review of literature related to adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), online learning, and online synchronous and asynchronous communication for the use of future studies. It recognizes that social communication is essential in developing human relationships – and is needed for people with ASD to gain independence and acceptance into society, yet represents one of their most significant impairments, thus affecting the learning of other life skills. Online synchronous and asynchronous communication, along with technological advancement and modern trends, including various new online communication platforms (like Facebook and Discord) may offer alternative ways to support the learning experiences of people with ASD. However, there appears to be gaps in our understanding of how online communication benefits or supports those with ASD in a learning context, despite people with ASD having shown improved interest and motivation in interacting with one another in gaming and dating platforms. As adolescents with ASD often use online communication but lack skills that negatively affect their learning experience, this conceptual paper intends to provide new insights by compiling and discussing the review of past literatures and theories in hopes of supporting them in future. The discussions in this research paper are meant to supplement the literature of academics as reference for their research and attempts to extend the findings of past research studies. It also intends to extend the theory of social constructivist learning and apply it to the context of learning through online synchronous and asynchronous communication among adolescents with ASD. Hence, the creation of a new conceptual framework designed for reference in future studies. With the rising trend of online and hybrid learning modalities, continued research on the use of online communication, especially in an academic setting, could better support people with ASD and strengthen their communication abilities to improve their social connection and learning ability as the flexibility of the learning environment offered by online and hybrid learning modalities may lead to more powerful social connections while enhancing their learning.

Index Terms—Adolescents, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), online learning, online synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Aevent Koh Kian Seng, Jasmine Anak Jain, and Logendra Stanley Ponniah are with the Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, Taylor’s University, Malaysia (e-mail: aeventkoh@gmail.com, jasmine.jain@taylors.edu.my, logendrastanley.ponniah@taylors.edu.my).
Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan is with the Faculty of Psychology and Social Sciences, University of Cyberjaya, Malaysia (e-mail: anasuya@cyberjaya.edu.my).

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Copyright © 2022 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2021: 1.3), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Electronic Journals Library, Google Scholar, Crossref, etc.
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net

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