Comparison of Student Perceptions of Classroom Instruction: Traditional, Hybrid, and Distance Education

Mary Jo Garcia BIGGS

This article reports the results of a project that examined student perceptions of the psychosocial learning environment in a distance education classroom. The study utilized a survey instrument, Distance Education Learning Environments Survey (DELES) that was distributed as a pre-test/post-test to three sections of the same course taught in three distinct formats: traditional classroom instruction, distance learning, and hybrid (partially on-line/partially face-to-face). The DELES survey is a web-based tool specifically designed to assess the learning environment using a standardized, validated instrument. At the beginning of the project, the DELES-Preferred was administered to the three pilot groups. It measures the perception of the “actual” environment, perceptions of the preferred environment, or the “ideal” learning environment of the students. In addition, a brief overview of the DELES instrument is described as well as the implications of the research project findings. Project results, based on the DELES administration, indicate that Instructor Support was rated highest by the students enrolled in the course taught in the traditional manner (4.68 mean) closely followed by the Hybrid course (4.66 mean) while the course taught totally at a distance averaged a 3.62 mean. However, Student Interaction and Collaboration averaged higher scores in the course taught in the Hybrid manner (4.23) followed by the traditional course (3.97) and then the distance course (3.12). Specific scales of Personal Relevance, Authentic Learning, Active Learning, Student Autonomy and Satisfaction (scale of affect) are further addressed in the article.

KEYWORDS: On-line, Student Perceptions, Distance Learning, DELES.