The quality factors which influence online learning and impact on the student experience.

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


    This dissertation identifies six measures of quality and correlates their level of association against an indicator of quality and effectiveness, partly derived from a model tested by Peltier et al, (2003). The dissertation researches online student-learner attitudes from three universities in England, Scotland and Ireland. These cohorts were almost entirely off-campus distance learners, with a predominance of female, adult-returner students studying Higher Education degrees and modules. A mixed methods approach adopted a Likert-scale survey questionnaire, a series of focus group sessions and an open-ended online question on student perspectives, focused on the key indicators associated with the quality of student online experience. The methodological framework is explained in detail to provide a basis upon which follow-up research can be progressed. The research aims to identify the most pertinent quality factors important to the online learning experience. The following factors were found to be directly correlated with quality in online education (strongest correlation first): tutor-student interactions; knowledge of delivery technologies; student-student interaction; ICT access and skills; course design; and preparedness and readiness for online study. The sum of these measure’s correlations with the quality of the online education experience accounts for 70.4% of variance in student perspectives. Other socio-demographic factors (e.g. age, gender, level of education, location, hours worked per week and study mode) were studied and the sum of these factor’s correlations with the quality of the online education experience accounts for a further 10.5% of variance in student perspectives on this issue. Further research opportunities identified in this dissertation are connected with developing further knowledge on the relationship between quality, student satisfaction and retention in the online education context.
    Date of Award20 Jan 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The Open University
    SponsorsUHI Studentship
    SupervisorFrank Rennie (Supervisor) & Martin Weller (Supervisor)

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