Factors that affect learners' performance in web-based courses: the case of the accounting courses at the Hashemite University

  • Abdullah Hamza Al-Hadrami

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The current research aimed to identify the main factors that affect students’ performance in web-based courses in a university in Jordan. In order to achieve this goal the current research design employed a mixed methods approach in that it embraced an exploratory approach in the first phase and moved to an explanatory approach in the second phase. The exploratory phase
    consisted of conducting four group interviews with students enrolled in web-based courses at the Accounting Department at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences and one group interview with Accounting instructors. While the explanatory phase employed a quantitative method (questionnaire) to examine the study’s proposed models.

    Astin’s Input-Environment-Outcomes (I-E-O) guided the current study’s framework to investigate factors that may influence student performance in web-based courses. Input variables were computer experience, student attitude toward web-based learning, self efficacy, motivation, and prior performance. Environmental variables included student perceptions of the interaction
    of instructors; use of technology; and participation in the online learning environment.

    Data was gathered from a survey of 461 undergraduate students enrolled in two web-based accounting courses at the Hashemite University in Jordan.

    The most important contribution of the current study is that it conducted the analysis in the context of a developing country (Jordan). Therefore, this study will fill the gap in the literature regarding the effect of using web-based learning on student performance in Jordan and will provide the basis for further research in developing countries on student performance in
    web-based learning. The study also adds to collective knowledge of the effects of e-learning by adding a case study set in a new context to the existing range of studies. In doing so it broadens
    the scope of research on e-learning effectiveness.

    The results indicated that the study’s model was valid and fit the data and it was reasonable to test the model in terms of path significance. The study explained 73% of the variance in student performance, but only 3% of the variation in change in performance was explained.

    The findings of the current research revealed that input variables (particularly prior performance and student attitudes toward web-based learning) were the most significant, direct input factors affecting student performance. In addition, it was found that environmental variables (particularly student participation in web-based courses and student perceptions of the interaction of their instructors) also had a significant direct effect on student performance. These findings underline that it is not the technology used in the learning process that makes a difference in student performance in web-based learning, but it is instructor interactivity and the pedagogy used in teaching the Accounting courses at the Hashemite University. This is not to say that technology is unimportant or that it can be ignored. However, the functionality, usability and reliability of e-learning technology have rapidly improved to the point where questions of how it is deployed and exploited become more important than what it is capable of doing.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorDavid Morris (Supervisor) & Husam Al-Khadash (Supervisor)

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