February 14, 2001
Reference: Lee, Myung-Geun. (2001). "Profiling students' adaptation styles in Web-based learning," Computers and Education, 36, 121-132.
Principle: This article discusses Web-based instruction and how adaptation styles effect this type of learning.
Design: 1000 questionnaires were given to students attending 11 similar Korean universities experimenting with Web-based instruction since 1998 under the Ministry of Education. The questionnaire asked questions consisting of 4 parts. The first part asked about background information of the subjects. The second part assessed the subjects' perceptions of the instruction learning environment. The third part asked about specific instruction-learning processes and the fourth part asked the subjects' perception of overall Web-based instruction.
Independent Variables: 334 questionnaires were collected for this study based on most items being adequately responded to (33.4% response rate). Of the respondents, 177 (53%) were female and 157 (47%) were male. The first section of the questionnaire asked questions about sex, age, status, and major.
Dependent Variables: The dependent variables are the participants' computer literacy level, their participation, interaction with the instructor, difficulty of the content, rate and quality of the instructors response, interaction with peers, providing of an on-line database, use of an on-line database, and any internet access fees.
Procedure: A cluster analysis on the survey data was used to identify Web-based learners' adaptation styles. Since the data was meaningless due to the small number of instances, these adaptation styles were retrospectively analyzed by looking at the learners perceptions of their own achievements, their satisfaction with the overall Web-based learning, and their learning context directly related with their perceptions. Each adaptation style was then examined by analyzing variables that were more related to a particular adaptation style. Data was processed using the SAS for Windows program.
Results: The interrelationship between Web-based learners' perception of their own academic achievements and their satisfaction with overall Web-based instruction was statistically significant. Four distinct adaptation styles were noted including "model learners", "maladaptive learners", "disenchanted learners", and "fanatic learners". Four dependent variables effected Web-based instruction and adaptation styles the most. These were difficulty of the content, quality of instructor responses, effects of interaction with peer students, and use of an on-line database. Model learners used instructors and peers more effectively than the other learner styles.
Comments: Based on the research, it appears that the more a student uses the resources available to them in Web-based learning, the better the student will do academically and the overall satisfaction with Web-based learning will increase. If the instructor takes the students adaptation styles into consideration and guides the students on how to make their Web-based class more productive and meaningful, the Web-based class will be more successful. The author of this article feels that more research with better surveys will lead to more meaningful results.