Students' Motivation for Learning at a Distance
Topics: Education, Distance education, Student, Educational psychology, Communication, Educational technology / Pages: 19 (4568 words) / Published: May 18th, 2013

Student Motivation for Learning at a Distance: Does Interaction Matter?

Kathleen D. Kelsey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Oklahoma State University
466 Agricultural Hall
Stillwater, OK 74078 Alan D 'souza, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Development for TRiO Programs
Wichita State University
105 Grace Wilkie Hall
Wichita, KS 67260-0008 Acknowledgement: This research was paid for by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station through HATCH funds.
The case study evaluated a distance education program offered by a land-grant university agricultural college. The study used Holmberg 's and Moore 's theoretical frameworks of didactic conversation and multiple interactions to determine the importance of interaction on the efficacy of distance learning. The mixed methods approach used an original survey instrument and long faculty interviews. While students found the technology manageable, the faculty perceived technology as a barrier to effective instruction. Both, students and faculty were satisfied with the nature of interactions between them, although the faculty had individual preferences and faced some barriers to interaction. The study supported Holmberg 's and Moore 's contention that interaction may be a predicating factor for the success of distance education courses. The study also found that student-student interaction was not considered critical to learning. More research is necessary in the direction of curriculum modification to suit distance student needs.
Offering distance education courses is consistent with the mission of the land-grant university and is a critical endeavor for the survival of the modern educational institution (Kambutu, 2002). Keegan (1990) defined distance education as a system characterized by 1) the separation of instructor and student during most of the instructional process, 2) the influence of an educational organization, 3) provision of student assessment, 4) use of

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