National Research Center Faculty Research Grant

National Research Center Faculty Research Grant

Understanding the Impact of Technological Efficacy on Achievement in Online Learning Environments The proposed research focuses on academic achievement in online environments using a social cognitive perspective. We propose to study technology self-efficacy and achievement. Additional variables include reading ability (fluency and comprehension), task value, learner/faculty interaction, learner satisfaction, and learner demographic characteristics, including ADA and ESOL status. We will examine how student attitudes and beliefs (such as technology self-efficacy) impact their success in the online learning environment, and how reading ability might mediate the aforementioned relationship. This study also provides an opportunity to address a gap in the literature related to the basic requirements of distance learning. One of the main forms of communication in online courses is through reading text and typing written responses/comments. In this study, reading fluency and comprehension will be considered, as well as writing ability, in relation to self-regulated learning, technology self-efficacy, and online achievement. A non-experimental cross-sectional design will be used to target SAS learners in years one and two taking the following classes with the most experienced instructors: LDR/711 and RES/721 or RES/722. These classes were selected based on their inclusion in required coursework across the EDD, DM, DBA, and DHA programs. The goal of focusing on the most experienced instructors is to attempt to mediate the effects of instructors less familiar with the curriculum or the online environment. Students in these classes will complete a pre-test and post-test online assessment instrument. The instrument will be fully online and include an interactive component, a reading comprehension component, writing prompts, task value, learner satisfaction, learner self-efficacy, and interaction in the online environment. In addition to examining the variables of interest, we will look at differences between the year 1 and year 2 cohorts to see how these variables evolve as a function of time and/or course content. The research will be part of a larger study taking place at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in hybrid classes using both face-to-face instruction and WebCT. The University of Connecticut Storrs will serve as an additional collaborating partner and provide access to online undergraduate and graduate classes for data collection after IRB approval is received. A UConn adult learning specialist, Dr. Maria Carolina Orgnero, will consult on the research and after winter break will indicate the number of classes that will be available for the study.