Transactional distance as a predictor of perceived learner satisfaction in distance learning courses: a case study of bachelor of education arts program, university of Nairobi, Kenya
Mbwesa, Joyce K
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There is a long history of study and recognition of the critical role of interaction in supporting and even defining distance education. Interaction has been identified as key to the success of distance learning. It is key in fostering, supporting and engaging in the learning process. Moore (1989) posits that the physical distance that exists in e-learning courses between the teacher and the students may result in a psychological and communicational gap between them. Such a gap will often impede the ability of the teacher and his or her students to achieve the desired level of understanding among them. In the light of this, teachers and students participating in distance-learning courses will generally require ―special‖ behavioral patterns, which are designed to overcome the communication gaps resulting from the transactional distance. This study examined three key distances experienced by students enrolled in distance learning courses as predictors of perceived learner satisfaction. Through a survey analysis, the study sought to answer 3 key questions - to what extent is Leaner-Leaner Transactional Distance (LLTD) predictive of students‘ perceived satisfaction (SPS) with a Distance Education (DE) course? Is Learner-Teacher Transactional Distance (LTTD) a predictor of students perceived satisfaction with the DE course? To what extent does Learner-Content Transactional Distance (LCTD) serve as a predictor of perceived learner satisfaction with a DE course? Subjects constituted of a random sample of 168 students enrolled for a Bachelor of education program in 2013 at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. A survey questionnaire measured the predictive constructs of the study namely, Learner-Learner Transactional Distance (LLTD), Learner-Teacher Transactional Distance (LTTD) and Learner-Content Transactional Distance (LCTD). Students‘ perceived satisfaction (SPS) was measured by use of a ten item Likert scale instrument. Results of the study indicated the three variables were key predictors of students‘ perceived satisfaction with DE courses.
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