Academic journal article Competition Forum

Performance, Measurement, and Competitiveness in Distance Learning Technology

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Performance, Measurement, and Competitiveness in Distance Learning Technology

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of this research paper is to further understand and focus on distance learning (DL) as a viable education method and to discuss the challenges associated with DL course delivery as well as to examine assessment of DL outcomes, such as student performance and satisfaction. The proposed study will also seek to expand the relevance of performance, perception and measurement in distance learning technology. At the same time, DL is proposed as an important trend in providing educational service. The DL milieu must also be evaluated in order to establish its ability to provide a high quality educational experience.

Keywords: Distance Learning, Students Performance, Students Satisfaction, Internet, Technology

INTRODUCTION

In the past few years, distance learning (DL) programs have proliferated. Nathanson (2000) indicated that distance learning as one of the most important developmental trends in education. More specifically, distance learning has primarily grown and flourished in post-secondary educational settings, and had build a viable methods for servicing adult learners. The Commission on Technology and Adult Learning (2000) developed a vision for electronically delivered classes in America and viewed DL as having great economic benefits. DL classes were proposed as a means to deliver high quality learning experiences to individuals not able to engage in traditional higher educational opportunities and at all socioeconomic levels. Braun (2008) indicated that online universities and traditional universities, who are offering online courses and degrees, are successful in providing the services to students at a lower cost.

The commission foresaw DL as a particularly strong educational method for responding to rapid changes in society and business. Yun-Jo and Frick (2006) reported that DL provided a more relaxed learning environment for students who may feel uncomfortable in a classroom for a variety of reasons, such as language barriers or issues of shyness. Tuckman (2005) stated that DL programs offer educational opportunities to those who may be place- bound or with some physical handicap that would keep them out of a traditional classroom environment. Sussan and Recascino (2006) stated that the use of technology, such as electronic mail and Internet, is becoming the norm in many workplaces, and this is true in most service organizations. These reports highlight the growing importance of DL as an educational delivery method in higher education in the U.S. in the 21st Century. Liu (2008) studied the challenges in distance learning, such as students' interaction, students' perceptions, and the pattern emerged from such interaction behaviors. As a result, many institutions have adopted (DL) educational delivery systems, believing that the concept is the future of higher education.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research paper will address the following research questions:

Question One: Are there significant differences in undergraduate student performance in distance learning versus traditional learning modalities? It is hypothesized based on the literature reviewed that no differences in student performance will be found between the two environments?

Question Two: Are there significant differences in undergraduate student perceptions, as measured via teacher evaluations, in distance learning versus traditional learning environments? Likewise, it is hypothesized that no differences will be evident, unless insufficient technological resources have been devoted to the DL environment?

Question Three: Is there a significant difference in the level of overall undergraduate student satisfaction in web-based distance learning classes versus traditional classroom settings? It is hypothesized that no differences in overall student satisfaction will be found.

Question Four: Do student satisfaction and course perceptions vary in DL compared to traditional classrooms for graduate students? …

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