A comparative study of student academic performance under face-to-face and distance learning mode of instructional delivery: a case of the Registered Community Health Nurse Upgrading Programme, Kenya
Mutonga, Joan W
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The purpose of this study was to compare the academic performance of students under face-toface (F2F) and distance learning modes of instructional delivery. The study also sought to determine whether a relationship existed between performance and student demographic factors of age, entry qualifications and work experience. The population under study was Kenya Enrolled Community Health Nurses who completed their study and sat for the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) licensing examination between 2008 and 2010. A total of 1,363 cases were included in the statistical analysis, and of these, 943 were DE students and 420 residential or face-to-face students. The study applied a quantitative causal comparative research design to determine whether differences existed between the academic performance of the two groups and also whether there was any relationships between performance and student characteristics of age, entry qualifications and work experience. The study used secondary data obtained from NCK 's electronic database. Quantitative data was analysed using correlation techniques to find out if there was as statistically significant relationship between the dependent and independent variables. The study found that there was a statistically significant difference (P=O.OOO; P<0.05) between the performance of DE and Face-to-face students in the NCK examination. Face-to-face students performed significantly better than DE students. The study also found that there was a significant relationship between students' performance and their entry qualifications and years of work experience in both groups. The higher the O-level grade attained the higher the mean score at the licensing exam and the lower the years of experience the higher the mean score attained in the NCK examination. Further, age was found to predict performance only among DE students, whereby younger students with less than or equal to 30 years achieved higher mean scores (60.57) than students older than 45 years of age. Evidence from this study rejected the null hypothesis that there was no significant difference between the performance of students under face-to-face and DE modes of instructional delivery. The study recommended the use of these findings to develop strategies to improve the performance of DE students, and also to re-evaluate the DE curriculum to establish whether it meets cognitive learning styles of mature students.