טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentZik Avital
SubjectLearner-Content Interaction in Online Learning: The
Relationship between Activity Level and
Performance
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Gabriela Goldschmidt
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The purpose of this study is to compare and evaluate two online lessons that differ in user activity levels (learner-content interaction). The research question is: What is the relationship between the activity level and performance in a lesson?

Online learning is a type of distance learning which is internet based. Of all distance learning methods the internet has the most potential and it is starting to dominate the field. It is important to mention that it is not technology itself but rather its implementation that has an influence, though it is still necessary to use the technology in the best way possible. There are three modes of interaction in distance learning: (1) Learner-content interaction. (2) Learner-teacher interaction. (3) Learner-learner interaction. This study focuses on Learner-content interaction.

One experiment was conducted in the present study: two online lessons, a high activity level and a low activity level lesson were uploaded to a website. The study’s sample was 109 undergraduate students randomly assigned to the lessons in equal proportions. When the lesson ended, participants answered a knowledge test, satisfaction questions and a demographic and personal questionnaire. A tracking system was developed to document and classify participants' activities. Since participation was independent through a website, it reinforces the experiment's external validity and helps simulate a real life situation of online learning.

Overall, results did not support our assumption that the online lesson that has more learner content activity would result in better scores for performance variables (knowledge test grade and other variables), although we confirmed the manipulation's presence.

Furthermore, we did not find significant relevant differences in participants’ behavior during the online lessons regarding leaving the experiment's website, repeating content (number of repetitions, content repeated and stage of repetition) and lesson satisfaction. We did find that high activity lesson participants reported on significantly more technical difficulties, according to our assumption.

The findings are interesting especially with regard to the growing importance of learner-content interaction examined and the increasing resources allocated to its development in the online learning field. We conclude that resource allocation for online learning has to be considered carefully. Building interaction into lessons is costly (in design time) and it should therefore be undertaken only when the length of the lesson, its complexity and the difficulty of the contents justify the investment.