A research methodology: the development of survey instruments for research into online learning in higher education
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As online learning continues to be utilised in diverse ways from courses being delivered fully online through to class websites used to supplement face-to-face classes, and as the technologies continue to develop, research into the effectiveness of this mode of online delivery needs to be an ongoing process. These research findings need to be fed back into the instructional design process for the design and development of pedagogically effective online learning environments. This paper describes a research methodology developed for a recently completed study which examined the instructional effectiveness of various online learning environments. This methodology has the potential to be adapted for future studies into online learning in higher education to assist with maintaining this research momentum. The survey utilised both quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting data. The students and lecturers of the online learning environments studied were asked to complete an online questionnaire and to participate in a semi-structured interview. The survey focused on elements of online learning including content, structure, motivation, feedback, interaction, learning strategies and the lecturer's role. This paper presents a sample of the literature which underpinned this study, describes the design and development process of the survey instruments and presents a sample of the survey findings.
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