The rush to online: Comparing students' learning outcomes in online and face-to-face accounting courses
Sara Schmidt, University of South Dakota, United States
University of South Dakota . Awarded
Online education has grown prolifically over the past several years. Great growth of online courses has generated significant volumes of research. Although there is abundant research on the topic of online education, the research that does exist lacks a necessary focus on the learning outcomes of the online modality. Further, the current literature on learning outcomes that exists is mixed and many times lacks a rigorous design to raise it to levels of internal and external validity.
The primary purpose of this quasi-experimental non-equivalent group design study was to determine the differences in the learning outcomes achieved by online accounting students compared to the traditional face-to-face students in two accounting courses, Principles of Accounting II (ACCT211) and Intermediate Accounting II (ACCT311). This study employed multiple measures of learning to assess the learning outcomes by utilizing individual quiz and chapter test grades, a pretest and final exam, and a pre-identified sample of learning objectives selected from the text for the respective courses. The subjects of this study included students enrolled in four classes of accounting: two classes of ACCT211, one experimental online and one control face-to-face class, as well as two classes of ACCT311, one experimental online and one control face-to-face class.
The data were analyzed using a one-way between-groups analysis of covariance to determine if a significant difference in learning outcomes existed between the face-to-face and the online groups in each course. The researcher controlled for prior accounting knowledge by adjusting for the pretest scores as well as the students' prior academic ability (as measured by prior GPA).
The study found there were no significant differences in the learning outcomes between the face-to-face and online groups in both ACCT211 and ACCT311 when average quiz grade, average chapter test grades, and final exam grades were used as the dependent variable's. There were three learning objectives in the ACCT211 course and one learning objective in the ACCT311 course that had significant differences in the learning outcomes. The relationship between the pretest scores and GPA, and the dependent variable was strong in many of the results.
Schmidt, S. The rush to online: Comparing students' learning outcomes in online and face-to-face accounting courses. Ph.D. thesis, University of South Dakota.
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