Academic journal article International Journal of Education

A Study on the Predictors of Success and Satisfaction in an Online Higher Education Program in Turkey

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

A Study on the Predictors of Success and Satisfaction in an Online Higher Education Program in Turkey

Article excerpt

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the predictors of success and satisfaction in an undergraduate distance education ELL degree program in Turkey. In this study, the independent variables are instructor support, student interaction and collaboration, personal relevance, authentic learning, active learning, and student autonomy and the dependent variables are student success and student satisfaction. The participants were 85 distance education students enrolled at the English Language and Literature Distance Education Program at Karabük University. In order to collect data, Education Learning Environment Survey (DELES), developed and validated by Walker and Fraser (2003), was used. This survey includes six psycho-social scales: 1) instructor support, 2) student interaction and collaboration, 3) personal relevance, 4) authentic learning, 5) active learning, and 6) student autonomy. In order to ascertain the relation between the variables, a correlation analysis was carried out. A moderate level of correlation was observed among the variables of the study. In addition, two regression tests were administered in order to measure the influence of the independent variables on both success and satisfaction. The results indicate that the predictors of student satisfaction are instructor support, authentic learning, and personal relevance, whereas the only strong predictor of academic success was authentic learning.

Keywords: Instructor support, Student interaction, Collaboration, Personal relevance, Authentic learning, Active learning, Student autonomy

1. Introduction

As online programs proliferate every day as a result of the advances in technology, more institutions design distance education programs. Therefore, student achievement and student satisfaction are crucial issues that must be studied carefully in order to provide betterment for online courses. Although some researchers think that there are not significant differences between online learning and traditional face-to-face classroom learning in terms of learning outcomes (Allen, Bourhis, Burrell & Mabry, 2002), student satisfaction in online learning still remains an important issue on account of the fact that new technologies have altered the way that students interact with instructors and classmates (Kaminski, Switzer, & Gloeckner, 2009).

Another important issue for online programs is student achievement. Some researchers believe that students who succeed in traditional settings may not do well in online courses. The reasons for this may range from students motivation, self-discipline to any other learner characteristics. Therefore, there is a need to investigate learner achievement in online education programs in relation to various factors. The purpose of this study is to investigate student success and satisfaction in a distance education program in relation to instructor support, student interaction and collaboration, personal relevance, authentic learning, active learning, and student autonomy.

2. Review of Literature

2.1 Academic Success in Distance Education

The need for researching the factors that affect student success in distance education courses was voiced decades ago (Biner et al., 1996; Dille & Mezak, 1991; Stone, 1992). The literature includes studies that focus on the factors that contribute to success. However, most of them are rather inconclusive and the factors have not been accurately described (Phipps & Merisotis, 1999). The factors that have been investigated in relation to success in distance education are age, educational level, locus of control, learning style, motivational beliefs, and self-regulated learning components.

First of all, although there are conflicting views, studies that focus on age and success in distance education programs found that the average age of successful students was 28 rather than 25 (Dille and Mezack, 1991). There are also some studies that do not find any significant relation between age and success in distance education programs (Biner et al, 1996). …

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