Impact of Learning Strategies and Motivation on Performance: A Study in Web-Based Instruction

By Sankaran, Siva R.; Bui, Tung | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Impact of Learning Strategies and Motivation on Performance: A Study in Web-Based Instruction


Sankaran, Siva R., Bui, Tung, Journal of Instructional Psychology


This study investigates how learning strategies and motivation influence performance in Web and lecture settings of a business information systems course. These were measured using a survey instrument: learning performance by test scores. Findings suggest that using either deep or surface learning strategy leads to comparable positive performances, but undirected strategy affects performance negatively. While motivation is significantly correlated to performance in both Web and lecture, the relationship is stronger in the Web setting. High motivation is associated with the use of deep learning strategy, and low motivation with undirected strategy. Pre-post test analysis shows that learning strategies and motivation are also correlated with gains in incremental scores. The results have implications for course design and instruction by taking individual differences into account.

Distance education is the process of instruction and learning via virtual classrooms where teachers and students are separated in space and sometimes in time. Today, distance education plays an important role in the rapidly changing society that places continual demand on learners. While television and video-teleconferencing were prevalent during the seventies and eighties, the Internet is taking the center stage today as the preferred medium of delivery for distance education due to its versatility and low cost (Moskal, 1997 & Sopova, 1996). A growing number of universities are embracing it than ever before.

Objective

The purpose of this research was to study how learning strategies-deep, surface, undirected- and motivation affect learning performance in Web-based instruction as compared to a traditional lecture setting (Figure 1), The goal was not merely to compare learning effectiveness of Web vs. lecture setting, but part of an overall investigation of why individual student performances vary even though the same course content is delivered to all of them (Sankaran & Bui, 1999 & 2000).

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Research in Distance Education

During the evolution of the various delivery technologies of the last three decades, researchers have explored several issues in distance education. The major ones among them are: effectiveness, student background, learning style, motivation, course design, instructor role and cost-benefits (Ragothaman & Hoadley, 1997 & VanZile-Tamsen & Livingston, 1999). Of these issues, this study focuses on (i) effectiveness. (ii) learning strategies and (iii) motivation.

Effectiveness

A principal question that has interested researchers In the past has been whether distance education is as effective as traditional lectures. Many studies evaluated effectiveness in terms of test scores and grades in a distant learning setting and compared them with those in the conventional classroom. Valore and Diehl (1987) examined research published since 1920 on correspondence studies, and concluded that correspondent students perform just as well as their classroom counterparts. Kuramoto (1984) evaluated - face to face, teleconferencing, and correspondence study - and concluded that all three were equally effective. Souder (1993) compared performances of two groups of graduate students, one taught in traditional lecture format and the other using satellite broadcasting, Results showed that distance learners performed better than their classroom counterparts. Based on an extensive review of literature, Porter (1997) contends that distance education is at least as effective as that of traditional lectures. Learning Strategies

One of the problems with many earlier effectiveness studies is that only the net performance of a group of distance education students has been measured. However, one can see that the individual students may react differently to distance learning due to differences in their background. Two such background variables are Learning Strategies and Motivation. …

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