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Learning in distance education: factors that influence students' academic performance

Grant number: 10/01333-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2010
Effective date (End): July 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Principal Investigator:Thaís Zerbini
Grantee:Lara Barros Martins
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


The current distance or blended educational contexts, supported by Internet, introduce new ways of studying and learning, and raise questions that need to be discussed about the quality and effectiveness of distance learning. This study aimed to propose and test a distance educational assessment model to identify learning predictors related to individual characteristics (learning strategies and frequency of use of web tools) and student satisfaction with the instructional procedures and tutor. The university that participated of it offers higher education distance courses since 2008, and the blended disciplines Scientific Methodology and Economics, are offered to all the institution's undergraduates. The questionnaires of Learning Strategies, Reaction to Instructional Procedures and Reaction to Tutor's Performance were applied in person and online; previously to data collection, they were modified (semantic validation and/or by judges) to suit specific higher education contexts. To check the instruments' validity evidences, exploratory factor analyzes were performed (Principal Components and Principal Axis Factoring) and internal consistency (Cronbach's Alpha). All scales are statistically valid and reliable. Multiple regression analysis was performed to fulfill the purpose of testing the model in order to verify the influence of web resources and learning strategies as well as student satisfaction with the tutor and instructional procedures, in learning outcomes. The frequency of use of web tools, self-regulatory learning strategies and the favorable reactions to the instructional procedures explained the occurrence of learning. These findings point to the importance of the virtual learning environment, the messages sent by students, and the use of strategies that promote self-management learning and self-regulation of motivation, anxiety and attention, in producing good learning results, which improve students' academic performance. Further research is needed to systematize knowledge about learning assessment in higher education mediated by technologies and expand the discussions about the e-learning effectiveness and applicability. (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
MARTINS, Lara Barros. Learning in distance education: factors that influence students academic performance.. 2012. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC) Ribeirão Preto.

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