Finding Determinants Affecting Distance Education Effectiveness in Terms of Learner Satisfaction and Application Achievement

Finding Determinants Affecting Distance Education Effectiveness in Terms of Learner Satisfaction and Application Achievement

Jeong-Wook Kim, Kyung Hoon Yang, Kichan Nam, Sung Tae Kim
DOI: 10.4018/jwltt.2010040102
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Distance education has become an important method of extending education to populations that otherwise might be educationally neglected. Distance education in the private sector provides learners with more educational opportunities and widens the range of innovative services with a one-stop educational solution. With distance education, learners can undertake customized education on a more ubiquitous scale. Additionally, information technology allows both trainers and learners to work independently, free from the constraints of location. This study selected the determinants of educational effectiveness from previous literature regarding traditional educational environments, and empirically tested the authors’ hypotheses to examine factors that affected educational effectiveness in terms of learner satisfaction and application performance using a structural equation model. Results show that factors in traditional education are still significant in terms of application performance while certain factors in distance education affect learner satisfaction. The authors expect that this research can serve as a guideline for distance education in the private sector.
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Literature Review

Distance education, which is often used interchangeably with virtual learning, web-based learning, electronic learning or online learning (Sharma, Kitchens, Booker, & Xu, 2006; Lu, Yu, & Liu, 2003; Ubell, 2000), enables companies to provide more learning opportunities to learners and enhance the quality of learning through a computer-based telecommunication network (Peltier, Schibrowsky, & Drago, 2007). Thanks to the latest technologies, distance education enables sophisticated interactive communication (Hirschheim, 2005). That is, distance education provides not only typical one-way classes where information flows from trainer to learner, but also a suitable environment for the interactions between trainers and learners as well as among learners themselves (Morrison, Sweeney, & Heffeman, 2003; Riitta & Alvesalo, 2003). Virtual learning also enables both synchronous interactions such as those experienced in traditional face-to-face education, and asynchronous interactions beyond time and space (Clouse & Evans, 2003). The use of computer chatting, video conference and voice communications is popular in synchronous interactions, while e-mail and bulletin boards are popular in asynchronous methods.

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