Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Workforce Education and Development
Distance learning is gaining popularity in many education environments. Online classes are on the increase because students need alternatives to traditional face-to-face classroom training. Time constraint on today's students coupled with the need for education to keep up with advances in technology, in all fields, has forced educators to facilitate training avenues other than traditional methods to perform this pedagogy. Students' perceptions of online classes along with differing learning styles are making this process challenging. Many colleges and universities are reporting alarmingly higher dropout rates of online students versus their traditional classroom students. There are many variables that can be attributed to this outcome and current research is looking at ways to increase the completion rate of this growing learning alternative. The purpose of this study is to examine some of the variables involved in the learning process that might have an effect on the online learning process. This may lead to a better understanding of why the completion rates are lower for online students. Some of the variables reviewed in this study are learning styles and technology acceptance, both of which can have an influence on the student's reception of the learning material. Online students scored higher in all but one of the technology acceptance scores. Learning styles showed a greater number of read/write learners in online classes and a greater number of kinesthetic learners in traditional classes. Instructors teaching styles also had a relationship with the students' successful completion of online classes.
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