Effectiveness of Personal Interaction in a Learner-Centered Paradigm Distance Education Class Based on Student Satisfaction

Shu-Hui Chang
Roger Smith


This study examined relationships between students' perceptions of course-related interaction and their course satisfaction within the learner-centered paradigm in distance education. A Students' Perceived Interaction Survey (SPIS) instrument was developed to examine nine separate hypotheses about the nature of course-related interaction. A volunteer sample of 855 students from the 949 students enrolled in Computer Science 103-Computer Literacy and Applications at Iowa State University in the fall of 2005 was used. This study employed a multiple linear regression. It concluded that student-instructor personal interaction, student-student personal interaction, and student-content interaction, along with students' perceptions of WebCT features and gender were predictors of course satisfaction. In this study 94% of the participants indicated they were satisfied with the course. No significance was found in the relationships between student satisfaction and student-teaching assistant (TA) personal interaction, the student's prior partial online distance education experience, the student's prior entirely online distance education experience, and academic year.


Interaction, Learner-center, Student satisfaction, Distance education


This study determined whether there was a relationship between students' perceptions of how effective course-related interaction was and their level of course satisfaction.
This study served three purposes:

1. To identify the relationships between student-instructor personal interaction and course satisfaction, student-TA personal interaction and course satisfaction, student-content interaction and course satisfaction, and student-student personal interaction and course satisfaction.

2. To identify the relationship between students' perceptions about the effectiveness of WebCT features for their learning and course satisfaction.

3. To identify the relationships between course satisfaction and specific student demographics such as gender, academic classification, and prior distance education course experiences.
A survey was developed for this particular study called the Students' Perceived Interaction Survey (SPIS)
The following are suggestions for future research:

1. Investigate if increased interaction will increase student learning outcomes measured by grades or academic achievement.

2. Replicate this study on a national level for undergraduate students who are taking a similar course using various course management systems.

3. Replicate this study in other courses in other subject areas.

4. Conduct a qualitative research study to investigate students' perceptions of the relationships between interaction and their course satisfaction.

5. Conduct an experimental study with a control group to measure if increasing interaction will increase course satisfaction. One group would require little to no interaction, while another group would be given a sufficient amount of interaction.

6. Conduct the same study on different course management platforms other than WebCT.

7. Determine if the research results concerning gender and preference remained consistent in other subject matter. This course was a computer science course, perhaps a broader subject area would change the results.

8. Determine whether other factors affect interaction, such as students' learning styles and instructors' teaching styles, which are not addressed in this study. Further study is needed in these areas.

APA Citation

Chang, S. H. H., & Smith, R. A. (2008). Effectiveness of personal interaction in a learner-centered paradigm distance education class based on student satisfaction. Journal of research on technology in education, 40(4), 407-426.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C50&q=effectiveness+of+personal+inteactionion+in+a+learner-centered+paradigm+distance&btnG=
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of Research on Technology in Education
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Social presence
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics STEM
Outcome Variables of Interest Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 500 +
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=1546416501073397370&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en