Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Exploring the Relation of Students' Language Proficiency, Online Instructor Guidance, and Online Collaboration with Their Learning in Hong Kong Bilingual Cyber Education

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Exploring the Relation of Students' Language Proficiency, Online Instructor Guidance, and Online Collaboration with Their Learning in Hong Kong Bilingual Cyber Education

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

This research study in cyber education in the context of Hong Kong's higher education was inspired by the different research findings of Wong (2008) and the Asian students' learning characteristics defined in Chin, Bauer, and Chang (2000) and Wong (2012). As Wong (2012) noted, these differences might be because unlike in many other studies in the literature, the participating students in his study (Wong 2008) learnt using the less familiar English language. Additionally, Wong (2012) explained that the differences lie in the cultural variability. Chin, Bauer, and Chang (2000) noticed that Asian students are generally more willing to participate in online discussion because they are not required to respond instantly in their less familiar English language; rather, they use their familiar language (e.g., Chinese) in the discussion forum. However, Wong (2012) noted that students' messages in the discussion forum require instructors' clarification. Hence, instructors' guidance in the discussion forum may be helpful to the students' online learning.

With these observations in mind, the researcher hypothesized that (1) students' English proficiency, (2) instructors' guidance in online discussion forum (or simply, online instructor guidance), and (3) peer students' collaboration in online discussion forum (or simply, online collaboration) will contribute to the student's learning in cyber education in the context of Hong Kong higher education.

This research study aimed to evaluate this hypothesis. Other potential factors, such as information technology (IT) literacy, motivation, and learning strategies, may also contribute to students' online learning, but the researcher only considered student's English proficiency, online instructor guidance, and online collaboration because their effect on the students' online learning might help to explain the difference between the findings of Wong's (2008) quasi-experiment and other comparative studies. Therefore, the following research questions were addressed:

1. How does each variable (i.e., student's English proficiency, online instructor guidance and online collaboration) correlate with the students' learning as reflected by their test scores achieved through teaching methods 1, 2, and 3? (See literature review for details of the teaching methods.)

2. How well do the variables predict the students' learning as reflected by their test scores achieved through teaching methods 1, 2 and 3? How much variance in the students' learning can these variables explain through teaching methods 1, 2, and 3?

3. What is the distribution of the students' views concerning the learning effectiveness of the three teaching methods and the importance of the variables?

The significance of this research study is fourfold. First, this study investigated the students' learning performance, which is an important issue that reflects the pedagogical quality of cyber education. Second, this study investigated the relation between students' use of less familiar English language with their learning in Hong Kong bilingual cyber education, something not addressed in the existing literature. Third, the previous studies did not consider the Asian students' learning characteristics when investigating the relation of online instructor guidance and online collaboration with students' online learning. This study considered these characteristics and investigated the relation of these variables with the students' online learning in the context of Hong Kong higher education. Fourth, the existing literature lacks consideration of the relative effects of the variables influencing students' online learning in cyber education. This study addressed this issue by identifying the variables that have relatively stronger or weaker effects.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Wong (2008) carried out a quasi-experiment involving the introductory IT course in a Hong Kong higher education college (in short, the college), which offers opportunities for graduates from secondary schools to earn Associate Degree and Higher Diploma programs. …

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