Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Reliability and Validity of the Explanatory Sequential Design of Mixed Methods Adopted to Explore the Influences on Online Learning in Hong Kong Bilingual Cyber Higher Education

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Reliability and Validity of the Explanatory Sequential Design of Mixed Methods Adopted to Explore the Influences on Online Learning in Hong Kong Bilingual Cyber Higher Education

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Inspired by the differences between the research findings of Wong (2008) and many other findings (e.g., Aberson, Berger, Healy, Kyle, & Romero, 2000; Johnson, Aragon, Shaik, & Palma-Rivas, 2000; Lim, Kim, Chen, & Ryder, 2008) and Asian students' learning characteristics as noted in Chin, Bauer, and Chang (2000) and Wong (2012), Wong (2015) randomly selected 75 students from each of the three groups in Wong's (2008) quasi-experiment and invited them to complete the survey study. The participating students in the three groups were associate degree and higher diploma students in a Hong Kong higher education college ("the college"). They were all registered for an introductory information technology (IT) course offered by the college and were randomly assigned to three teaching method groups. The first group was a classroom teaching group; the second group was online teaching group; and the third group was a hybrid group in which the participating students used a combination of both classroom teaching and online teaching methods. The survey was targeted to obtain the participants' different views across the different teaching methods to explore the relationship between students' English proficiency, instructors' guidance in online discussion forums ("online instructor guidance"), and peer collaboration in online discussion forums ("online collaboration") and the students' online learning performance in the online introductory IT course. Correlation and multiple regression analyses were performed using the statistical software tool called Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 to identify the relationship. Correlation analysis was adopted to identify whether the students' English proficiency, online instructor guidance and online collaboration could be potential factor(s) affecting the students' learning performance. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore the combined effect of the students' English proficiency, online instructor guidance and online collaboration on their learning performance. The major findings of this study revealed quantitatively that students' English proficiency has the largest effect while online instructor guidance and online collaboration have a moderate effect on the students' learning in cyber education. However, these findings could not confirm the cause-effect relationship between these three variables and the students' learning in cyber education.

To confirm the cause-effect relationship, the researchers designed mixed methods consisting of Wong's (2015) quantitative approach and the qualitative approach proposed in this paper, which aimed to explain Wong's (2015) quantitative findings. The design mainly adopted one of Creswell and Plano Clark's (2011) explanatory sequential design of mixed methods called the follow-up explanations variant, in which a quantitative approach is first used to discover the quantitative relationship, and then a qualitative approach is adopted to obtain in-depth understanding to establish explanations, as illustrated in Figure 1. In this design, the quantitative and qualitative approaches in different phases are complementary and are executed in that order, as the explanation in the qualitative phase depends on the findings from the quantitative phase.

The literature has discussed the challenges and benefits of using mixed methods in research. The researchers present the literature review and provide justifications for using the mixed methods designed for this research study.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The literature has been debating the suitability of the research paradigm, meaning a researcher's theoretical perspective of looking at the world (Lincoln & Guba, 2000), for research using mixed methods. In the paradigm debate for mixed methods, four stances were identified. They are pragmatism, transformative paradigm, multiple paradigms in mixed methods and the paradigm depending on the design of the mixed methods. …

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