Higher Education Student Satisfaction and Success in Online Learning: An Ecological Perspective
Keywords:online learning, jewish and arab students, asynchronous course, students' satisfaction, technological self-efficacy, higher education
This study examined Jewish and Arab graduate students` satisfaction and success in an asynchronous online course (OC) in Israel, analyzing the correlations between student characteristics/background, design features and learning outcomes. Guided by Bronfenbrener`s ecological model, the study employed quantitative and qualitative approaches. 174 students studying for master's degrees in education at a college in central Israel participated in the research, responding to a specially constructed online questionnaire as well as 12 semi- structured interviews. Additionally, the grades received by the students for their course assignments were analysed. Quantitative data analysis found: 1. Students` technological self-efficacy (TSE) predicts a correlation between intrinsic motivation and OC satisfaction. 2. The variables that predict the students' satisfaction with the OC: positive perception of the course assignments as understandable and useful; effectiveness of the learning process and good quality of communication with the lecturer. 3. The sector variable (Arab / Jewish) was found to moderate the correlation of the Jewish students' (JS) and Arab students' (AS) final grades with a contribution from various means of learning. Thus, when AS felt that they received a contribution from the use of more learning means, they achieved higher grades. The AS found it difficult to adapt to the independent learning style needed for the OC. Qualitative data, gathered from the open-ended questions and interviews with the students` were triangulated, reinforcing findings and explaining the quantitative data. Findings revealed three categories described the differences in satisfaction between the JS and AS throughout the course: Learners' attitude toward a course built from assignments, learning independently, Contacting the lecturer for assistance. Theoretical and practical implications are noted.