PROJECT TOPIC: IMPACT OF ONLINE LEARNING ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
This study focused on the impact of E-learning on students academic performance. The study relates to a level one undergraduate module delivered using traditional lectures and e-learning based methods. E-learning has been revealed in this study not to have a positive impact on academic achievement contrary to the expectations of this study.
The methodology that was employed in this study was random sampling techniques for students and analyzed using chi-square. It is concluded that in order to improve academic achievement, Olabisi Onabanjo as an institute should consider aiming to develop e-learning facilities that would encourage greater engagement.
The study recommends that critical factors such as institutional issue, management issue, pedagogical factors, technological issue, interface design issue, evaluation issue, and resource support issue and the factors within each issue have not yet been investigated with detail coverage. It further suggests that there is need to carry out detail research involving case studies based on survey questionnaires involving various learning institutions which will ultimately give a better understanding of impact of e-learning aspects within implementation process.
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
There is no single definition for online learning. Some researchers identify online learning as a more recent version of distance learning which improves access to educational opportunities for learners described as both nontraditional and disenfranchised. Other authors discuss not only the accessibility of online learning but also its connectivity, flexibility and ability to promote varied interactions (Ally,2004;Hiltz & Turoff, 2005; Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005).
It includes learning with the assistance of the Internet and a personal computer. The term e-learning, or electronic learning, often is used interchangeably with online learning.
E-learning is not limited to digital literacy but may encompass multiple formats and hybrid methodologies, in particular the use of software, internet , CD-ROM, online training or any other electronic or interactive media. It is defined as all forms of electronic learning and teaching, which are procedural in nature and aim to effect the construction of knowledge with reference to individual experience, practice and knowledge of the learner. Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process.
E-learning is essentially the computer and network-enable transfer of skills and knowledge. It refers to using electronic applications and processes to learn. It refers to using applications and processes include web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the internet, international journal, science and technology intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. It is used by the educational institutions to enhance and support the class room teaching and offering courses to larger population of learners across the Globe. It can be self-paced or instruction-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio.
E-learning has created new markets for teaching and learning material and equipment, attracting the attention of academic institutions as well as companies supplying them in different sectors- computer manufacturers, software producers, publishing houses and special training providers.
The important benefit of online learning is that it can span time and distance. One does not have to be in the same place as the teacher to obtain related information. The internet as a new invented technology holds the greatest promise humanity has known for online learning and universal access to quality education. It allows students to broaden their academic experience, access important information and communication to others within academic community.
There is also an increase virtual classrooms (online presentation delivered live) as an online platform and classroom for a diverse set of education providers. In addition to virtual classroom environments, social networks have also become an important part of e-learning. Social networks have been used to foster online learning communities around subjects as diverse as test preparation and language education.
Conceptually, online learning is broadly synonymous with instructional technology, Information Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning, Ed Tech, learning technology, multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer-based instruction (CBI), computer managed instruction, computer-based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction or computer-aided instruction (CAI), internet-based training (IBT), flexible learning, web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education, virtual learning environment (VLE) (which are also called learning platforms), m-learning and digital education. In usage, all of these terms appear in articles and reviews; the term "e-learning" is used frequently, but is variously and imprecisely defined and applied.
During the last two decades higher education institutions have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT). ICT has had a major impact in the university context, in organization and in teaching and learning methods because it is one of those ways of improving online learning.
One puzzling question is the effective impact of these technologies on student performance and on the returns of education. Many academic researchers have tried to answer this question at the theoretical and empirical levels. They have been faced with two main difficulties. On one hand, student performance is hard to observe and there is still confusion about its definition. On the other hand, ICT is evolving technologies and their effects are difficult to isolate from their environment.
There is no standard definition for student performance. The standard approach focuses on achievement and curricula, how students understand the courses and obtain their degrees or their marks. However, a more extensive definition deals with competencies, skills and attitudes learned through the education experience. The narrow definition allows the observation of the outcomes of any change in higher education, while the more extensive definition needs a more complex strategy of observation and a focus on the labour market. The outcomes of education are mainly validated in the labour market.
The relationship between the use of online learning and student performance in higher education is not clear, and there are contradictory results in the literature. Earlier research has failed to provide a clear consensus concerning the effect on students’ achievement
1.1 EVOLUTION OF ONLINE LEARNING
Distance learning (DL) can be defined as “institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors” (Schlosser & Simonson, 2006, p.1).
Distance learning began in 1837 when Sir Isaac Pitman began delivering shorthand courses by mail. This form of Distance Learning became known as correspondence courses and over the next few decades spread to the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and Japan (Matthews, 1999). By 1892, the University of Chicago established a university extension with a correspondence teaching department (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009). From these beginnings emerged several stages, or generations of distance learning. The first generation consisted of correspondence study, followed by the emergence of Articulated Instructional Media (AIM) and open universities.
The birth of Britain’s Open University in 1969 introduced the first university system dedicated to distance learning students. Open University used a total systems approach to the design and implementation of distance learning in which correspondence was combined with different media such as broadcast video and audio. As technology developed during this second generation, video and audio were being combined to be delivered via television, videotape, teleconferencing, and satellite (Moore & Kearsley, 2005).
In the 1980s Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) – also known as Computer-based training (CBI) – took hold. The idea back then was to make training programs which then would be used by students on a computer. CAI was and is very efficient in teaching the use of various computer programs. This is because the student is at the same time looking at the program as the use of it is being instructed. Nowadays most of the personal computer programs have some integrated CAI built in as a form of a tutorial for usage, for example in Microsoft Word or in Open Office Write.
One may argue about how useful it is to have the Microsoft Word ‘Helper’ or the Open Office Write ‘Light Box’ for the experienced computer assisted communication (CMC) user. However hardly anyone can say that they do not play a significant part in teaching the inexperienced users how to use basic home PC computer programs. The PC computing power was raised tremendously at the same time as they were being equipped with CD-ROM drives to enable most homes to have CAI teaching programs for use right in their own homes. Not to mention the drive to increase the amount of personal computers in the homes of people during that decade.
CAI lacks the direct interactivity of a learning situation. One could run CAI programs in
Computer classes with other students and a teacher but the net benefit of computer learning interactivity would be very low.
Before CAI growth could take place, much advancement was needed. Enormous amounts of man hours were necessary to create a CAI program not to mention the hardware resources required to run the CAI programs and or applications.
The 1990s brought about a change to this. In the 1990s, a new generation of distance learning emerged in the form of computer-based instruction delivered over networks (Moore & Kearsely, 2005). Within this current generation of DL, the Internet would begin to serve as the main medium of delivery (Matthews, 1999). The interface of the World Wide Web enables the combination of text, graphics, audio, and video to form the components of a course.
This type of DL course is often referred to as online learning.
From the mid 90s to the late 90s, online learning development and deployment content were essentially inside classroom curriculum placed in electronic files (i.e., Word, PDF, PowerPoint) and placed in a virtual classroom space. Today this would be described as an e-library of documents or an e-document warehouse. This was not necessarily effective online learning; however, it was the first iteration or generation, as practitioners and educators were foraging new territory. In late 2003, the initial proposition of the effective e-learning model was clearly centered around formulating a foundation by which creators of online learning content could operate by and know that the key elements that help enable the learning process were in place as high quality content was identified as a key indicator of online learning success (Boehle, 2005). Various web based environments propped up to facilitate distance learning. There is WAN (wide area network) learning, online education (eg. through the World Wide Web), mobile learning (mLearning) among others.
In online learning platforms students get assignments and complete them by the weekly deadline. The students are also encouraged to discuss the themes and issues of the course and to comment on each other’s entries. Right now the materials used are mostly online texts that are linked to the course site, but some courses use other web content form such as video or sound clips as well.
In the future, online learning environments like these will have much more capacity to deliver a large variance.
From 2002 to 2007, as e-learning continued to grow at a rapid pace, research continued and the most notable discovery from the learner’s perspective was the chunking of information. Initially the model proposed 7-minute clusters or chunks based on processing of information and synthesis by learners. What was gleaned through research, particularly in the academic setting, was that online learners described wanting information in smaller chunks for easier processing. For example, around a specific concept the learner could receive an overview of the concept, theoretical construct data and practical application delivered in audio or visual learning formats with a pre-assessment and post-assessment, as well as subject matter validation in 3 to 5 minutes and increase the engagement level.
The case of Nigeria is different; her development of e-learning could be traced to the 90’s when federal government of Nigeria commenced the liberalization policy of telecommunication industry. Four (4) private telephone service providers (Mtel – NITEL, Econet Now Airtel, MTN and Communication Investment Limited – CIL) were initially licensed to provide General System for Mobile Services. CIL license was later revoked for inability to pay the license fee before the prescribed deadline which was later given to Globacom (Glo) Nigeria. With this development, more companies were licensed to provide internet services in Nigeria, and this led to improved access to the internet by Nigerians. The country has less than 11 ISPs in 2000, but by the year 2006, it has risen to above 100 and many got connected to the information super-highway, through broadband VSAT connection.
The common type of e-learning adopted in the country is in form of lectures note on PDF which can be viewed as at when the learners desires. The challenge of this method is that the numbers of students who can access with their phones are limited and not all student have laptops, hence comes the limitation so it cannot be compared to when lectures are been received in the classroom.
Some institutions adopted the use of intranet facilities; however, this is not well maintained because of incessant power problem and high cost of running generating set. Most students in Nigeria go to the cyber café but because there are people of diverse intension on the net at the same time, and the bandwidth problem, a multimedia interactive cannot be done.
Despite all these and other challenges facing online learning in Nigeria educational institution, institutions such as University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Benin, University of Abuja, University of Lagos, National Open University of Nigeria, among others have developed the facilities for e-learning. The number seems very low (compared to other parts of the world and the usefulness of the online learning in the economy development) because of location of most institutions, bandwidth issue and mostly the challenge of electricity. Though most of the educational institutions (private and public) have started setting up their ICT centers for internet services in other to foster or encourage online learning among student.
Whether one recognizes it or not, students and teachers have benefited from the flexibility of online learning for decades. In the past decade, with increasingly widespread access to computers and the Internet, online learning has become a consistent presence at all levels of education.
1.2 DEFINITION OF PROBLEM
This study is aimed at determining the impact of online learning as a supplement to the traditional classroom based learning. This study is therefore set to investigate how online learning can be integrated into the normal mode of course tutorial delivery system in the pursuit of enhancing academic performance.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following questions are pertinent to the research goals:
1. What is the impact of online course delivery system on student academic performance?
2. How can online learning be made more effective in teaching and learning?
3. To what extent can online learning facilities be made more effective and user friendly for teaching and learning?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
This study intends to achieve the following specific objectives:
1. Measure the impact of online learning delivery system on student academics performance.
2. To determine the effectiveness of online learning facilities as pedagogical tool.
3. To assess the effectiveness of online learning as a pedagogy method.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses will be used to validate the findings from the research:
1. There is no significant difference in online course delivery system and student academic performance?
2. There is no significant difference in the effectiveness of online learning and traditional teaching and learning methods?
3. There is no significant difference in online learning facilities and its effectiveness on teaching and learning?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The fact that this study is important cannot be overemphasized. Hence, the study will bring to the fore, the importance of using the internet as a means of learning and teaching in schools in other to effect the academic performance of the students.
It will equally give room for schools to start a program that will make activities in the school go online in terms of teaching and learning. It will also enhance or facilitate effective and efficient search for retrieval and dissemination of information within and outside the school environment.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is mainly focused on the effectiveness of online learning. The study is limited to undergraduates of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-lwoye Ogun state.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
Online learning (or eLearning) is the use of electronic educational technology in learning and teaching.
Academic Performance: this is described as the display of knowledge and skills acquired as shown by marks and grades obtained by the students after being exposed to a series of stimuli which he/she must or have to respond to in the form of test or examination for the purpose of correcting, appraising and/or reasoning for the purpose of promotion, placement and training.
ICT: Information and Communication Technology is the integration of telecommunication, computers as well as a necessary enterprise software, storage, and audio visual system which enables user to access, store and transmit information.
CAI: Computer Aid Instruction is a system that gives instruction to the student which is been employed mostly by the instructor.
WBT: web based training is anywhere, anytime instruction delivered over the internet to learners in other to equip them.
VLE: Virtual Learning Environment is a system that creates an environment designed to facilitate teachers management of courses for their students.
DIGITAL CLASS: is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen students learning experience.
CURRICULUM: is the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources and process for evaluating the attainment of educational resources.
1.9 ORGANISATION OF PROJECT
This work will be divided into five chapters; chapter two will cover the review of related scholarly works and publication in respect to the topic under study. It particularly covers the pedagogy and technology of online learning, its contribution to student’s academics performance and the theoretical frame work. Chapter three will cover the methodology employed for the study, followed by the research settings, method of data collection and sampling procedures, as well as the method of data analysis. Chapter four will cover the presentation of findings and discussion, the test for the hypothesis and the general analysis of data collected. Chapter five will center on the conclusion and summary of research findings, how far the objectives of the study have been met, in addition to recommendations for further study.
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