What is the linear model of communication,types,How it works,difference between linear and interactive communication models

What is the linear model of communication,types,How it works,difference between linear and interactive communication models

The linear communication model is an early conceptual model that describes the process of transferring information only in one direction, from sender to receiver. The model applies to mass communication, such as television, radio, and newspapers.

What is the linear model of communication?

The linear model of communication was first proposed in 1949 by information theorists Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver. Shannon and Weaver use seven terms to define the model: sender, encoding, decoding, message, channel, receiver, and noise, according to Communication Studies. The sender is the creator of the message, like the author of a newspaper article. The sender encodes the message by writing it as an article and then sends it to a specialized channel, such as a printed newspaper. The receiver collects the message by reading the newspaper and decoding or interpreting the message so that the receiver can understand it. Noise includes distractions that interfere with the message being transferred and received,

The linear model describes communication as a one-way process. It does not allow feedback, which is the receiver’s response to the message. The linear model does not apply to a conversation, because a conversation involves an exchange of messages between the sender and the receiver. Each participant provides verbal and non-verbal feedback to the other person as the conversation continues.

How does linear communication model work

The linear communication model is easy to remember if you think about it in terms of a line. A line is straight, usually with a start point and an end point. In this linear communication model, the communication that is broadcast occurs in a straight line, from a sender to a receiver. In this model, each component plays its own role:

  • The sender prepares the message
  • The message is the information that is conveyed
  • The message is encoded or converted to suit the channel being used.
  • Various channels (email, radio, television, etc.) transmit the message
  • The receiver decodes and reviews the message.

This communication model is also affected by two other components: the absence of feedback , which means that the receiver cannot respond immediately, and noise , anything that could cause a disruption in the way it is received or received. get the message. Noise can be the wide range of choices consumers have in television programming that can prevent an ad from reaching its target audience. Noise can also be things like how the receiver feels, outside influences, and more.

Types of linear communication model


A television commercial for laundry detergent is a good example of linear communication. The company that creates the detergent creates an advertising message that it wants to convey to consumers. They choose television as the medium and prepare the message, which consumers pick up while watching their favorite television programming. However, there is no immediate opportunity for the audience to give their opinion on the commercial. Instead, comments can be equated to sales on store shelves.

On Radio

Every night, he drives home listening to his favorite radio station. And while there are a variety of call-in shows that can allow audiences to connect with radio personalities, for the most part, radio communication is an example of the linear model. The songs are played and the announcements are delivered from the sender to the receiver, who simply assimilates the content that is provided.

In Newspapers / Magazines

Newspapers and magazines provide us with a lot of content, from news to advertisements, in a linear format. Whether it’s a reporter writing about local government, a food critic reviewing a restaurant, or a local car dealer marketing their holiday offering, this type of content is intended to be a direct message from the creator to the public.

Lesson Summary

The linear communication model is a straight communication line, which runs from the sender directly to the receiver. In this model, the sender creates a message, encodes it for the appropriate delivery channel, and sends the message to their target audience.

This model differs from the types of communication we see on social media because it is a one-way street with no immediate feedback from the audience. However, these messages can be affected by noise , whether internal or external, which can dilute, alter or change the original intention of the sender. Examples of linear communication that are still in use today include messages sent via television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, as well as some types of e-mail messages.

The difference between linear and interactive communication models

Communication is a multi-faceted activity, with researchers such as Claude Shannon, David Berlo, and Wilbur Schramm proposing different models of communication designed to help clarify human communication. Two main models are the linear and interactive models. Linear models assume that language is simply a vehicle for sending information. Interactive models focus more on complex communication processes.

Interactive model

With the interactive model of communication, both the sender and the receiver of the information continuously encode and decode information. Instead of the information being sent in one direction, from the sender to the receiver, both participants send the information back and forth. Wilbur Schramm also proposed that both the sender and the receiver interpret the message, rather than accurately assessing the meaning of the message.

Shannon-Weaver mathematical model

There are several linear models of communication. One of them, developed by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, was designed to make the transmission of the electrical signal more efficient. The Shannon-Weaver mathematical model implies an original information source, which sends a message to a transmitter, which then sends a signal to a channel. Inside the channel, noises can muffle the message. The receiver, who decodes the message to its destination, receives the signal.

Berlo’s communication model

Berlo’s Communication model comes from the Shannon-Weaver model. This model was considered the simplest and most influential model of the time, according to C. David Mortensen. An information source has the communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and a particular cultural background that influences the message. The source encodes the message, which has the content, elements, structure, code and treatment. That message then goes into a channel, which is based on the senses, such as hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. The receiver then decodes the message and interprets it based on communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and culture.

Communication vs. transmission

Linear communication might not actually be “communication”, but rather “transmission.” For linear communication to occur, you do not need a receiver. However, for interactive communication to occur, a sender and receiver are necessary, especially since the receiver must give their opinion. Communication is fluid and relational, and linear communication does not consider these factors. Interactive communication in a relationship puts everyone in control of the conversation, while linear communication only puts one person in control.


Linear communication occurs through the media when a communicator sends information through channels such as television and radio. Interactive communication can occur through media that allow multiple people to send information back and forth, such as with social media websites.

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