Students’ Learning Outcomes in Online Courses: Continual Quality Improvement

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Latif, Latifah A
Subramaniam, Thirumeni T
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Open University Malaysia (OUM)
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Much has been written to enumerate the reasons for the success and failures of online learning, and the common view is that the relative success and failure of a student is caused by a combination of three major factors: the student, the environment, and the curriculum. This exploratory research looks into how adult students who are taking fully online courses in an open and distance learning institution evaluate the extent the online learning dimensions influence their achievement of the expected learning outcomes. An online survey was administered to students taking online courses in the May 2015 semester. The online learning dimensions evaluated include: module (clear statement of learning outcome, workload, learning resources and instructional design), feedback, learning experience, assessment, and student self directedness and motivation with student satisfaction as a dependent variable. The average mean obtained for these dimensions is 3.69 out of 5. Relative comparison between the dimensions highlights four areas of concern: workload, instructional design, feedback and learning experience. The student satisfaction level is indicated by a mean of 3.36 (a satisfaction level at 67.2%). The objective was to use the results of this survey as a guide in developing an integrated and robust system linked to the institution’s Learning Management System (based on Moodle) for course evaluation. The results will assist the institution in coming up with effective intervention strategies for improving problematic courses so as to increase students’ online learning experience and satisfaction. The instrument can also serve as an internal benchmark on the courses offered. The findings highlight OUMH1103 (Learning Skills for Open and Distance Learners) with rating above 4 for all dimensions and a satisfaction rating at 4.13 (82.5%). In general, the results indicate that student satisfaction with online courses is correlated to all the online learning dimensions. Student satisfaction shows strong positive correlation to learning resources, feedback and student motivation. The course evaluation imposed on the students at regular intervals will enable the institution to delve into quality improvement, management of academic performance, curricular and pedagogic review and easy tracking and monitoring of the quality of the courses and programmes. // Paper ID 500
Online Learning