School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Primary Subject Area
Education, Administration; Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Education, Technology
achievement, distance learning, learning management systems, online, professional development, virtual
Torain, Janie Mae Sheeley Johnson, "Virtual Learning: Is It Conducive to Student Achievement?" (2009). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 168.
The use of technology to compel student learning has become an increasingly central component of teaching, learning, and school improvement efforts. What exactly does virtual learning entail? How does it integrate with curriculum and instruction? Does it present organizational challenges to educational institutions? This study examined unit test scores, end-of-course grades, instructors' opinions of teaching online, students' satisfaction with online course, and instructor interaction, as measures of the effectiveness of online and face-to-face curriculum delivery on student achievement. A series of t tests conducted to compare the mean scores of the face-to-face and the online formats provided data to determine no significant difference in five unit tests and the final course grades of the two formats. An interview of instructors provided an insight to teachers of online courses and their advice to students about the self-motivation and commitment needed to fulfill online course requirements. The students' survey conveyed that 89% of the respondents took the online course from home, registered with no trouble, think that they will take another online course in the future, agreed or strongly agreed that the course was intellectually challenging, and agreed or strongly agreed to being well advised about the self-motivation and commitment needed to fulfill course requirements. This study of virtual learning opened up dialogue among educators to discuss issues such as alternatives to traditional teaching and learning to reach the diversity of learners. It provided foundational evidence for decisions of expenditures for technology, professional development, and facilities.