A structural equation model of predictors of online learners’ engagement and satisfaction
Keywords:Community of Inquiry, structural equation modeling, online learning, social presence, teaching presence, cognitive presence, engagement, satisfaction
This study investigated the structural relationships among online learners’ teaching, social and cognitive presence, engagement, and satisfaction. Data were collected from graduate students enrolled in an online graduate program at a large Midwestern public university through online surveys. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data. According to the results, teaching presence, cognitive presence, emotional engagement, behavioral engagement, and cognitive engagement were significant predictors of satisfaction and these determinants explained 88% of the variance in satisfaction. The results indicate that the dominant determinant of the satisfaction was teaching presence, which had direct and indirect effects on satisfaction. Moreover, the study revealed significant predictors of emotional, behavioral, cognitive and agentic engagement. Implications are discussed in terms of theoretical insights, practices for online learning environments, and further research directions.
Akyol, Z., & Garrison, D. R. (2008). The development of a community of inquiry over time in an online course: Understanding the progression and integration of social, cognitive and teaching presence. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 12(3-4), 3–22.
Akyol, Z., & Garrison, D. R. (2011). Understanding cognitive presence in an online and blended community of inquiry: Assessing outcomes and processes for deep approaches to learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(2), 233–250.
Alaulamie, L.A. (2014). Teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence as predictors of students' satisfaction in an online program at a Saudi University. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Ohio University, USA.
Ali, & Ahmad (2011). Key factors for determining students' satisfaction in distance learning courses: A study of Allama Iqbal Open University. Contemporary Educational Technology, 2(2), 118–134.
Allen, I.E. & Seaman, J., Poulin, R. & Straut, T.T. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Newburyport, MA: Babson Survey Research Group.
Retrieved from http://onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/onlinereportcard.pdf
Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17.
Arbaugh, J. B. (2001). How instructor immediacy behaviors affect student satisfaction and learning in web-based courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 64(4) 42–54.
Arbaugh, J. B. (2008). Does the community of inquiry framework predict outcomes in online MBA courses? International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 9(2), 1–21.
Armellini, A., & De Stefani, M. (2016). Social presence in the 21st century: An adjustment to the Community of Inquiry framework. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(6), 1202–1216.
Baker, C. & Taylor, S. L. (2012). The importance of teaching presence in an online course. Online student engagement tools and strategies. Faculty Focus Special Report (pp. 6–8). Magna Publication.
Bates, R. & Khasawneh, S. (2007). Self-efficacy and college students’ perceptions and use of online learning systems. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(1), 175–191.
Baumgartner, H., & Homburg, C. (1996). Applications of structural equation modeling in marketing and consumer research: A review. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13(2), 139-161.
Bentler PM., & Chou CH. (1987) Practical issues in structural modeling. Sociological Methods & Research, 16, 78–117.
Biner, P. M., Welsh, K. D., Barone, N. M., Summers, M., & Dean, R. S. (1997). The impact of remote-site group size on student satisfaction and relative performance in interactive telecourses. The American Journal of Distance Education, 11(1), 23-33.
Bitzer, P., & Janson, A. (2014). Towards a holistic understanding of technology mediated learning services - a state-of-the-art analysis. Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). Tel Aviv, Israel.
Boomsma A. (1985). Nonconvergence, improper solutions, and starting values in LISREL maximum
likelihood estimation. Psychometrika, 50, 229–242.
Cobb, S. C. (2011). Social presence, satisfaction, and perceived learning of RN-to-BSN students in web based nursing courses. Nursing Education Perspectives, 32(2), 115–119.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Dennen, V. P., Darabi, A. A., & Smith, L. J. (2007). Instructor-learner interaction in online courses: The relative perceived importance of particular instructor actions on performance and satisfaction. Distance Education, 28(1), 65–79.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Collier Books.
Dixon, M.D. (2015). Measuring student engagement in the online course: The online student engagement scale (OSE). Online Learning, 19(4), 1-15.
Eom, S.B., & Ashill, N. (2016). The determinants of students’ perceived learning outcomes and satisfaction in University online education: An update. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 14(2), 185- 215.
Estelami, H. (2012). An exploratory study of the drivers of student satisfaction and learning experience in hybrid-online and purely online marketing courses. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 143-155.
Field, A. P. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS. London, England : SAGE.
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59–109.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7 23.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2010). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: A retrospective. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1-2), 5–9.
Garrison, D. R., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2007). Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 157–172.
Garrison, D. R., & Akyol, Z. (2013). The community of inquiry theoretical framework. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (pp. 104–119). New York, NY: Routledge.
Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough. American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 133–148.
Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Fung, T. S. (2010). Exploring causal relationships among teaching, cognitive and social presence: Student perceptions of the community of inquiry framework. The Internet and Higher Education, 13, 31–36.
Giannousi, M., & Kioumourtzoglou, E. (2016). Cognitive, social, and teaching presence as predictors of students' satisfaction in distance learning. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 7(2), 439-447
Gunawardena, C. N., & Zittle, F. (1997). Social presence as a predictor of satisfaction within a computer-based conferencing environment. The American Journal of Distance Education, 11(3), 8–26.
Harrison, R., Gemmell, I., & Reed, K. (2014). Student satisfaction with a web-based dissertation course: Findings from an international distance learning master’s programme in public health. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(1), 182-202.
Hew, K.F. (2016). Promoting engagement in online courses: What strategies can we learn from three highly rated MOOCS. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(2), 320-341.
Hosler, K. A., & Arend, B. D. (2012). The importance of course design, feedback, and facilitation: Student perceptions of the relationship between teaching presence and cognitive presence. Educational Media International, 49(3), 217–229.
Hoyle, R. H. (1995). The structural equation modeling approach: Basic concepts and fundamental issues. CA: Sage publication , 1-15.
Hu, S., & McCormick, A. C. (2012). An engagement-based student typology and its relationship to college outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 53, 738–754.
Hu, S. & Kuh, G. D. (2002). Being (dis)engaged in educationally purposeful activities: the influences of student and institutional characteristics. Research in Higher Education, 43(5), 555–575.
Iacobucci, D. (2009). Everything you always wanted to know about SEM (structural equations modeling) but were afraid to ask. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19, 673-680.
Jackson, L.C., Jones, S. J., & Rodriguez, R. C. (2010). Faculty actions that result in student satisfaction in online courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 14(4), 78–96.
Johnson, R. D., Hornik, S., & Salas, E. (2008). An empirical examination of factors contributing to the creation of successful e-learning environments. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 66, 356–369.
Joo, Y. J., Joung, S., & Kim, E. K. (2013). Structural relationships among e-learners’ sense of presence, usage, flow, satisfaction, and persistence. Educational Technology & Society, 16(2), 310–324.
Joo, Y. J., Lim, K. Y., & Kim, E. K. (2011). Online university students' satisfaction and persistence: Examining perceived level of presence, usefulness and ease of use as predictors in a structural model. Computers & Education, 57(2), 1654–1664.
Khalid-M.N, M., & Quick, D. (2016). Teaching presence influencing online students’ course satisfaction at an institution of higher education. International Education Studies, 9(3), 62-70.
Kang, M., Liew, B.T., Kim, J. & Park, Y. (2014). Learning presence as a predictor of achievement and satisfaction in online learning environments. International Journal on E-Learning, 13(2), 193-208.
Kanuka, H. (2005). An exploration into facilitating higher levels of learning in a text-based Internet learning environment using diverse instructional strategies. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(3).
Kanuka, H., & Garrison, R. D. (2004). Cognitive presence in online learning. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 15(2), 21-39.
Kauffman, H. (2015). A review of predictive factors of student success in and satisfaction with online learning. Research in Learning Technology, 23.
Ke, F. (2010). Examining online teaching, cognitive, and social presence for adult students. Computers & Education, 55, 808–820.
Kelly, R. (2012).Tips from the pros: 4 ways to engage students. Online student engagement tools and strategies. Faculty Focus Special Report (p. 10). Magna Publication.
Klem, L. (2000). Structural equation modeling. In L. Grimm & P. Yarnold (Eds.), Reading and understanding multivariate statistics (Vol. II). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York London: The Guilford Press.
Kozan, K. & Richardson, J. C. (2014). Interrelationships between and among social, teaching and cognitive presence. The Internet and Higher Education, 21, 68-73.
Kranzow, J. (2013). Faculty leadership in online education: structuring courses to impact student satisfaction and persistence. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(1), 131-139.
Kuh, G.D. (2003). What we're learning about student engagement from NSSE. Change, 35, 24–31.
Kuo, Y. C., Eastmond, J. N., Schroder, K. E. E., & Bennett, L. J. (2009). Student perceptions of interactions and course satisfaction in a blended learning Paper presented at the Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications World Conference, Hololulu, HI.
Kuo, Y. C., Walker, A., Belland, B. R., & Schroder, K. E.E. (2013). A predictive study of student satisfaction in online education programs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(1), 16–39
Ladyshewsky, R. K. (2013). Instructor presence in online courses and student satisfaction. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7(1).
Lee, Y., & Choi, J. (2013). A structural equation model of predictors of online learning retention. Internet and Higher Education, 16, 36–42
Lowenthal, P. R., & Dunlap, J. C. (2014). Problems measuring social presence in a Community of Inquiry. E-Learning and Digital Media, 11(1), 19-30.
Ma, J., Han, X., Yang, J., & Cheng, J. (2015). Examining the necessary condition for engagement in an online learning environment based on learning analytics approach: The role of the instructor. Internet and Higher Education, 24, 26-34.
Mason, R. B. (2011). Student engagement with, and participation in, an e-forum. Educational Technology & Society, 14(2), 258–268.
Meyer, K. A. (2014). J-B ASHE higher education report series (AEHE): Student engagement online: What works and why: ASHE higher education report, 40:6 (1). Somerset, US: Jossey-Bass.
Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance education: A systems view (2nd Ed.), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Nagel, L., & Kotz´e, T. (2010). Supersizing e-learning: What a CoI survey reveals about teaching presence in a large online class. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1–2), 45–51.
Newberry, B. (2003). Effects of social motivation for learning and student social presence on engagement and satisfaction in online classes. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Kansas, USA.
Park, S., & Yun, H. (2017). The influence of motivational regulation strategies on online students’ behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement. American Journal of Distance Education, 1-14.
Reeve, J. (2013). How students create motivationally supportive learning environments for themselves: The concept of agentic engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 579-595
Reeve, J., & Tseng, C.-M. (2011). Agency as a fourth aspect of students’ engagement during learning activities. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 257-267.
Reinhart, J., & Schneider, P. (2001). Student satisfaction, self-efficacy, and the perception of the two way audio/video distance learning environment: A preliminary examination. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 2(4), 357–365.
Richardson, J. T. E., Long, G. L., & Woodley, A. (2003). Academic engagement and perceptions of quality in distance education. Open Learning, 18, 3, 223–244.
Richardson, J., Maeda, Y., Lv, J., & Caskurlu, S. (2017). Social presence in relation to students' satisfaction and learning in the online environment: A meta-analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 402-417.
Richardson, J.C., & Newby, T. (2006). The role of students' cognitive engagement in online learning. American Journal of Distance Education, 20(1), 23–37.
Richardson, J. C., & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(1), 68–88.
Robinson, C.C., & Hullinger, H. (2008). New benchmarks in higher education: Student engagement in online learning. Journal of Education for Business, 84(2), 101–108.
Roach, V., & Lemasters, L. (2006), Satisfaction with online learning: A comparative descriptive study. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 5 (3), 317-332.
Rossin, D., Ro, Y. K., Klein, B. D., & Guo, Y. M. (2009). The effects of flow on learning outcomes in an online information management course. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(1), 87–97.
Robinson, C. C., & Hullinger, H. (2008). New benchmarks in higher education: Student engagement in online learning. Journal of Education for Business, 84(2), 101–109.
Rovai, A. P. (2002). Sense of community, perceived cognitive learning, and persistence in asynchronous learning networks. Internet and Higher Education, 5(4), 319–322.
Sahin, I., & Shelley, M. (2008). Considering Students’ Perceptions: The Distance Education Student Satisfaction Model. Educational Technology & Society, 11(3), 216–223.
Shea, P. (2006). A study of students’ sense of learning community in online environments. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(1), 35–44.
Shea, P., Li, C. S., & Pickett, A. (2006). A study of teaching presence and student sense of learning community in fully online and web-enhanced college courses. Internet and Higher Education, 9(3), 175–190.
Shea, P., Pickett, A., & Pelz, W. (2003). A follow-up investigation of “teaching presence” in the SUNY Learning Network. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(2), 61–80.
Shea, P., Hayes, S., Vickers, J., Gozza-Cohen, M., Uzuner, S., Mehta, R., Valchova, A., &
Rangan, P. (2010). A reexamination of the community of inquiry framework: Social network and content analysis. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1–2), 10–21.
Shin, N., & Chan, J. K. Y. (2004). Direct and indirect effects of online learning on distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(3), 275–288.
Shin, N. (2006). Online learner's ‘flow’ experience: An empirical study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(5), 705–720.
SPSS Amos (Version 24.0) [Computer software]. (2016). Armonk, NY: IBM.
Sull, E.C. (2012). Teaching online with Errol: a tried and true mini-guide to engaging online students. Online student engagement tools and strategies. Faculty Focus Special Report (pp. 6–8). Magna Publication.
Sun, J.C., & Rueda, R. (2012). Situational interest, computer self-efficacy and self-regulation: Their impact on student engagement in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(2), 191-204.
Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting student satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, 22(2), 306–331.
Swan, K., Garrison, D. R., & Richardson, J. C. (2009). A constructivist approach to online learning: The community of inquiry framework. In C. R. Payne (Ed.), Information technology and constructivism in higher education: Progressive learning frameworks (pp. 43–57). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Swan, K., & Ice, P. (2010). The community of inquiry framework ten years later: Introduction to the special issue. The Internet and Higher Education, 13, 1–4.
Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (2005). Creating cognitive presence in a blended faculty development community. The Internet and Higher Education, 8, 1–12.
Wang, M. J., & Kang, M. (2006). Cybergogy for engaged learning: A framework for creating learner engagement through information and communication technology. In M. S. Khine (Ed.), Engaged learning with emerging technologies (pp. 225-253). New York, NY: Springer.
Webster, J. & Hackley, P. (1997). Teaching effectiveness in technology-mediated distance learning. Academy of Management Journal, 40(6), 1282–1309.
Wei, C-W., Chen, N-S., & Kinshuk, C. (2012). A model for social presence in online classrooms. Education Tech Research Dev, 60, 529–545.
Yukselturk, E., & Yildirim, Z. (2008). Investigation of interaction, online support, course structure and flexibility as the contributing factors to students' satisfaction in an online certificate program. Educational Technology & Society, 11(4), 51–65.
Young, S., & Bruce, M.A. (2011). Classroom community and student engagement in online courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(2), 219-230.
As a condition of publication, the author agrees to apply the Creative Commons – Attribution International 4.0 (CC-BY) License to OLJ articles. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
This licence allows anyone to reproduce OLJ articles at no cost and without further permission as long as they attribute the author and the journal. This permission includes printing, sharing and other forms of distribution.
Author(s) hold copyright in their work, and retain publishing rights without restrictions