The Effects of Internet-Based Instruction on Student Learning

Scott B. Wegner, Ken C. Holloway, Edwin M. Garton


The practice of using technology to deliver coursework in higher education has seen a veritable explosion. The use of technology has not only created new opportunities within the traditional classroom but has also served to expand learning experiences beyond the popular notion of “classroom." Indeed, “distance learning," especially utilization of the Internet, is becoming a widely used delivery alternative at universities nationwide.
In many instances the change to an Internet-based delivery system has been instituted with little or no consideration of the impact on student learning. This paper presents data from a twosemester study of the effects of distance learning on student achievement as well as the impact of distance learning on student attitudes concerning their learning experiences. Students’ test scores and satisfaction survey results from an Internet-based test group were compared to a control group whose instructional opportunities were from traditional, in-class models. Researchers found no significant difference between the test scores of the two groups. Additionally, while statistically significant data could not be produced in the area of student perceptions, general observations supported that, overall, students in the experimental group had a more positive feeling about their experience than the control group.


Distance Learning,Computer-Mediated Instruction,Teaching/Learning Strategies,Problem-Based Learning

Full Text:



Plotnik, E., Trends in Educational Technology 1995. ERIC Digest, ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, Syracuse New York. ED398861, 1996.

Parrot, S., Future Learning: Distance Education in Community Colleges. Eric Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges, Los Angeles California. ED385311, 1995.

Nixon, D. E., Simulteaching: Access to Learning by Means of Interactive Television. Community Junior College Quarterly of Research and Practice, 16 (2), 167-175. 1992.

Sercy R.D., Grade Distribution Study: Telecourses Vs. Traditional Courses. Manuscript prepared for the Calhoun Telecourse Steering Committee, Decatur, Alabama: Calhoun Community College, ED 362 251, 1993.

Wegner S. B., Holloway, K. C. and Crader, A. B., A Problem-based Approach on the World- Wide-Web. Resources in Education, ERIC Clearinghouse for Teaching and Teacher Education. ED 414 262 1998, 1997.

Filipczak, B., Putting the Learning Into Distance Learning, Training 32, No.10 111-118. EJ511 253, 1995.

Kerka, S.,Distance Learning, the Internet, and the World Wide Web. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education, Columbus Ohio. ED395214, 1996.

Kubala, T., Addressing Student Needs: Teaching on the Internet, T.H.E. Journal 25 (8) 71-74, 1998.

Bridges, E. M., and Hallinger, P., Problem-Based Learning in Medical and Managerial Education, In P. Hallinger, K. Leitwood, and J. Murphy, (Eds), Cognitive Perspectives on Educational Leadership, New York, Teachers College Press, 1993.

Barrows, H. S., and Tamblyn, R. M., Problem-based Learning: An Approach to Medical Education. New York: Springer Publishing Co., 1980.

Bridges, E. M., Problem-based Learning in Management Education. Paper presented at George Peabody University, Nashville, TN, January 1990.

Whitman, N. and Schwenk, L., Problem-solving in Medical Education: Can it be Taught? Current Surgery, 453-459, November-December 1986.

Eastmond, D. V., Alone but Together: Adult Distance Study Through Computer Conferencing, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 1995.


Copyright (c) 2019 Scott B. Wegner, Ken C. Holloway, Edwin M. Garton