|Ph.D Student||Hussein-Farraj Rania|
|Subject||Distance Education: Science and Engineering|
Students' Learning Outcomes
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisors||Professor Yehudit Dori|
|Professor Miriam Barak|
|Full Thesis text|
Higher education institutes are producing and delivering distance learning (DL) courses for attracting and retaining students. Some studies report, however, that the integration of DL in academia faces a wide range of problems, including interactions among students, learners' satisfaction, and their attitudes toward DL. Therefore, the effect of DL on students' learning should be further examined. Accordingly, our research objectives were: (a) to examine science, engineering, and science education students' attitudes toward DL and their learning experiences, (b) to identify, examine, and quantify students' self-regulated learning (SRL) and transfer components, and (c) to examine students' cognitive learning outcomes while comparing two learning modes: face-to-face (F2F) and (DL).
The research included 156 participants in a pilot study that investigated the feasibility of establishing DL courses at the Technion, and 189 science, science education, and engineering students who studied in one of three undergraduate and graduate courses at the Technion. In each course, the students were divided into two research groups: on-campus F2F students and DL students. The mixed method research model was employed for the analysis and interpretation of data. Analysis of the students' pre- and post-attitude questionnaires indicated that the DL students preferred the asynchronous delivery mode and had more positive attitudes towards DL compared to their F2F peers. Content analysis of the students' answers to the open-ended questions and interviews revealed four lifelong learning categories: cognitive and professional skills, affective learning, social interactions, and resource management. It also indicated that the DL and F2F students applied cognition, metacognition, and resource management skills as part of their SRL process, while each research group emphasized different components. Content analysis of the questions that students posed revealed near, far, and context related transfer components. While comparing F2F and DL students' learning outcomes, a statistically significant positive correlation was found between SRL and transfer components. The F2F students acquired knowledge and skills mainly in the context of the course content while the DL students presented more application of knowledge - a higher cognitive skill. This result strengthens the claim that DL does not detract students from meaningful learning.
The research adds a layer to the growing body of knowledge on DL and students' learning preferences. It contributes to the body of knowledge about students' SRL and transfer components in two modes of learning, presenting examples for the development of hybrid courses that can be delivered both on campus and from distance.