Academic journal article Journal of Applied Research for Business Instruction

Preferred Delivery Method for Online Instruction: Secondary Students' Perceptions

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Research for Business Instruction

Preferred Delivery Method for Online Instruction: Secondary Students' Perceptions

Article excerpt

Introduction

The role of technology in society has changed as various modes of information and communication have become increasingly available throughout work, school, and home environments (Condie & Livingston, 2007). The increasing availability of technology has changed how we receive information and how we provide information to others. Therefore, individuals now view information as stable over time versus transient and open to development or change (Condie & Livingston, 2007).

In the field of education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be implemented across educational settings. The literature notes e-learning, distance learning, distance education, Web instruction, and online learning are all terms used to describe non-traditional approaches to instruction (Carnevale, 2001; Saba, 2005). Cavanaugh, Barbour, and Clark (2009) defined online learning as learning that occurs through digital rather than analog means.

The definition of online learning has developed based on definitions of distance learning. Distance learning has been defined in a variety of ways; however, Gross, Muscarella, and Pirkl (1994) provided a thorough definition of distance learning as extending learning or instruction to sites distant from a classroom or other location through the use of a variety of technologies such as video, audio, computer, multimedia communications, or a combination of such technologies. The definition of distance learning has continued to evolve over the years. The use of the terms "anywhere, anytime" are included in many definitions of distance and online learning (Berge, 1997; Harasim, 1990; Matthews, 1999; Swan, Shea, Frederickson, Pickett, Pelz & Maher, 2000).

Crews, Wilkinson, Wiedmaier, Hemby, and McCannon (2006) combined Dewey's (Dewey, 1963) discussion of effective educational experience in continuity and interaction with the technology involved in online learning to develop a wellrounded definition of online learning. Consequently, online learning, whether pure or blended, is defined as "the use of technology (software and hardware) to provide assistance to learners to enable them to achieve the set level of learning through continuity and interaction" (Crews, et al., 2006, p. 147). Allen and Seaman (2006) specifically defined online courses as "those in which at least 80 percent of the course content is delivered online" (p. 4). The course types were further delineated as: 1) Traditional: 0% of course content delivered online, 2) Web Facilitated: 1-29% of course content delivered online, 3) Blended: 30-79% of course content delivered online, and 4) Online: 80% or more of course content delivered online with typically no face-to-face (F2F) class meetings.

Information technology is abundant and few limitations exist as to how much information students can access (Ng & Nicholas, 2010). Information is not only available through the Internet, but through email, Learning Management Systems (LMS), and other sources which allow for collaboration, the exchange of ideas, and knowledge sharing (Ng & Nicholas, 2010). The Internet is rapidly becoming a primary research tool even in elementary education. Kuiper, Volman, and Terwel (2005) noted that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provided evidence that 99% of public schools had Internet access in 2001. Online learning provides easy access to information, appeals to students and, therefore, should be seen as a supplement to traditional instruction (Kuiper, et al., 2005). Consequently, there is a change in the roles technology and communication play across education, business, and personal settings (Condie & Livingston, 2007). This paper provides a literature review of online technology and course implementation and impact primarily at the secondary level. The purpose is then described along with the study methodology and findings.

Literature Review

From 2001 to 2007 the number of K-12 students participating in online learning increased from 200,000 to nearly 2 million (Cavanaugh, et al. …

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