The impact of learning design on student behaviour, satisfaction and performance: a cross-institutional comparison across 151 modules

Rienties, Bart and Toetenel, Lisette (2016). The impact of learning design on student behaviour, satisfaction and performance: a cross-institutional comparison across 151 modules. Computers in Human Behavior, 60 pp. 333–341.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.074

Abstract

Pedagogically informed designs of learning are increasingly of interest to researchers in blended and online learning, as learning design is shown to have an impact on student behaviour and outcomes. Although learning design is widely studied, often these studies are individual courses or programmes and few empirical studies have connected learning designs of a substantial number of courses with learning behaviour. In this study we linked 151 modules and 111.256 students with students’ behaviour (<400 million minutes of online behaviour), satisfaction and performance at the Open University UK using multiple regression models. Our findings strongly indicate the importance of learning design in predicting and understanding Virtual Learning Environment behaviour and performance of students in blended and online environments. In line with proponents of social learning theories, our primary predictor for academic retention was the time learners spent on communication activities, controlling for various institutional and disciplinary factors. Where possible, appropriate and well designed communication tasks that align with the learning objectives of the course may be a way forward to enhance academic retention.

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