Exploring the student experience
Rumney, Cynthia Chapman
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While research into distance education has evolved over the years, the fast-paced changes in technology of the past decade have caused a widening divide between the research completed and the technology available (Means et al., 2009). A lack of research shows this disconnect is clearly evident in the realm of computer based instructional simulation (CBIS) in online learning and is further apparent in technical college courses designed to teach technologically diverse students familiarity with computer applications. The purpose of this study was to explore the student experience in relation to the use of computer based instructional simulation in an online introductory computer applications course in a Georgia technical college. This study was a cross-sectional survey, mixed research study utilizing a self-administered, web-based questionnaire for data collection. The questionnaire was developed specifically for this study and was administered to 141 participants. Data for the study was analyzed quantitatively through descriptive statistics and qualitatively through the development of themes. The results of this study indicate a positive perception of the CBIS in general and a positive perception of the impact of CBIS on learning for students enrolled in the final weeks of an online introduction to computer applications course at a technical college. The conclusions for this study discussed the perception that experiential learning had occurred in the course; the perception that transfer of learning had occurred; the conclusion that even participants with computer experience still had a positive perception of the CBIS; and the impact of sensitivity and bugs on the perception of the functional fidelity of the CBIS.