1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Distance learning, sometimes called e-learning, is a formalized
teaching and learning system specifically designed to be carried out
remotely by using electronic communication. Because distance learning
is less expensive to support and is not constrained by geographic
considerations, it offers opportunities in situations where traditional
education has difficulty operating. Students with scheduling or
distance problems can benefit, as can employees, because distance
education can be more flexible in terms of time and can be delivered
virtually anywhere (Wikipedia, 2015).
Studies indicate that distance learning can be as
effective as the traditional format and even more satisfactory to
students when the methods are appropriate to the teaching tasks, there
is student-teacher interaction, and the teachers provide students with
appropriate and timely feedback.
Distance education has become widespread in the past 10 years.
Universities and corporations are seeking to become involved in this
‘‘re-invented’’ form of education. The total enrollment in courses
delivered through various forms of distance education between 1997 and
1998 has been estimated at 1.6 million students.
Higher education has become a booming business
with annual revenues of 225 billion dollars in 1999. It appears that
universities, corporations and governments are profiting from this new
learning environment. Considering that more people are pursuing a second
degree after earning a baccalaureate, and more full-time employees are
seeking to advance their careers by taking training courses, it is
important to investigate the level of student satisfaction with the
learning environment as the market will continue to grow.
Student satisfaction is an important indicator of
the quality of learning experiences (Moore & Kearsley, 1996;
Yukselturk & Yildirim, 2008). It is worthwhile to investigate
student satisfaction in distance learning settings because new
technologies have altered the way that students interact with
instructors and classmates (Kaminski, Switzer, & Gloeckner, 2009).
The quality of interaction in distance learning settings may depend to a
large extent on the technology tools utilized during learning (Parsad
& Lewis, 2008). Lack of confidence in using information and
communication technology (ICT) may decrease students’ satisfaction
during distance learning instruction and in turn lower their
performance. As opposed to face-to-face instruction, the nature of
distance learning demands greater responsibility on the part of
learners (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). Distance learners who are unable
to regulate learning efficiently are unlikely to be satisfied (Artino,
2007; Puzziferro, 2008).
However, learning environment studies remain
positivistic in nature with the use of instruments to measure the
learners' perceptions and then imposing guidelines for the development
of the learning environment though various support elements have been
suggested by authors (Walker, 2002, Jegede, Fraser & Fisher, 1998)
In this study, distance learning environment
signifies a networked environment where learning activities occur while
the instructor and the learner are separated by location and/or time.
The researcher will investigate the level of student’s satisfaction
with the learning environment in Distance learning.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Reasons why some students lose interest in a class has been at the
center stage of discussion in the recent times. Given the potential
for the introduction of quality deficiency when instituting these new
technologies used in distance learning programs, it becomes imperative
to monitor and report actual outcomes of the use of such technologies.
This study addresses these outcomes of the use of technologies in
distance learning from the students’ perspective ion terms of
Past studies have examined attributes associated
with student satisfaction. However, the attributes examined in each of
these studies have been limited. Previous literature has focused upon
one or two components of satisfaction, whereas the literature suggests
there are a multitude of variables affecting satisfaction and
additional variables associated with satisfaction in distance learning
environment. Since the Internet and the use of ICT technology is
employed in the course structure of distance learning, additional
problems may arise ranging from student’s perception of the technology
as assisting or impeding the learning process. However the researcher
will find out the determinants of student satisfaction in a distance
learning environment and determine their level of satisfaction with
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To ascertain the level of student’s satisfaction with the learning environment in distance learning Universities in Nigeria.
- To examine the determinants of students satisfaction in a distance learning environment.
- To analyze the factors that can enhance students satisfaction in a distance learning university.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the level of student’s satisfaction with the learning environment in distance learning Universities in Nigeria?
- What are the determinants of student’s satisfaction in a distance learning environment?
- What are the factors that can enhance students satisfaction in a distance learning university?
HO: Students are not satisfied with the learning environment in distance learning university in Nigeria.
HA: Students are satisfied with the learning environment in distance learning university in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- This study will be useful for policy makers in education
sector on the challenges faced by students that is associated with the
learning environment in distance learning universities. This will also
prepare students to cope with any challenges faced as a result of the
gap created by the distance between the lecturer and the students.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other
scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in
this field subsequently, if applied, it will go to an extent to
provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study on student’s satisfaction with learning
environment in distance learning universities in Nigeria will cover all
the situations related to the learning environment faced by the
students of distance learning universities in Nigeria which will be
assessed based on the student’s level of satisfaction.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to
impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant
materials, literature or information and in the process of data
collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will
simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This
consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Student: a person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education
Learning Environment: refers to the diverse physical locations,
contexts, and cultures in which students learn. Since students may
learn in a wide variety of settings, such as outside-of-school
locations and outdoor environments, the term is often used as a more
accurate or preferred alternative to classroom, which has more limited
and traditional connotations—a room with rows of desks and a
chalkboard, for example.
Satisfaction: fulfillment of one's wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.
Distance: make (someone or something) far off or remote in position or nature.
Artino, A. R. (2007). Online military training: Using a
social cognitive view of motivation and self-regulation to understand
students’ satisfaction, perceived learning, and choice. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 8(3), 191-202.
Jegede, O., Fraser, B. J., & Fisher, D. L. (1998).
The Distance and Open Learning Environment Scale: Its development,
validation and use. Paper presented at the 69th Annual Meeting of the
National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Diego, CA.
Kaminski, K., Switzer, J., & Gloeckner, G. (2009).
Workforce readiness: A study of university students’ fluency with
information technology. Computers & Education, 53(2), 228-233.
Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education: A systems view. New York, NY: Wadsworth.
Parsad, B., & Lewis, L. (2008). Distance education at
degree-granting postsecondary institutions: 2006-07. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009044.pdf
Puzziferro, M. (2008). Online technologies self-efficacy
and self-regulated learning as predictors of final grade and
satisfaction in college-level online courses. American Journal of Distance Education, 22(2), 72-89.
Walker, S. (2002). Measuring distance education
psychosocial environment. Retrieved 22 January, 2003 from
Wikipedia (2015): www.wikipedia.com
Yukselturk, E., & Yildirim, Z. (2008). Investigation
of interaction, online support, course structure and flexibility as the
contributing factors to students’ satisfaction in an online
certificate program. Educational Technology & Society, 11(4), 51-65.