A Comparison of E-Learning and Traditional Learning: Experimental Approach

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1 A Comparison of E-Learning and Traditional Learning: Experimental Approach Asst.Prof., Dr. Wanwipa Titthasiri, : Department of Computer Science : Faculty of Information Technology, Rangsit University : PathumThani, Thailand : Abstract : This research aims to compare the students achievement of E-Learning and traditional learning using the experimental approach. A pair of student groups ( in E-Learning and traditional class ) was learned in a semester as an experiment. Two experiments with two pairs of student groups were conducted in two semesters. T- test comparison analysis was performed in order to examine the differences of mean scores between two treatments. Results showed that there are no statically significant differences in all measurements. Moreover, both of student groups were interviewed at the end of each semester about students satisfaction. The findings highlight the importance of identifying the blended learning-mixed of E-Learning and traditional learning. It is expected that the blended learning would be an improvement of students achievement. Keywords-E-Learning;traditional learning; experimental approach;blended learning. I. INTRODUCTION Today, there are the extreme shift in the structure of the workforce and the education, establishing the use of new technologies as on necessary and important tool for successful life. It is now a knowledge-based society, exhibiting an everincreasing demand for innovative ways of delivering education. Therefore, most of people desire to use these new technologies in order to expand their knowledge and require new skills. These have led to change in the way of learning. It is found that the advancement of computer and network technologies have contributed to make the way to educate people very difference from how it was previously done [9]. Education facilities at a distance have recently been recognized as a mean of providing access to knowledge. The widespread use of information technology (IT) and the mass popularization of the Internet/World Wide Web (WWW) have meant that opportunities have been identified for developing distance learning activity into a more advanced online environment[7]. Zhang pointed that these radical changes in learning needs and technology are fueling a transition in modern learning in the era of the Internet, commonly referred to as E-Learning [5]. Therefore, this research aims to compare between E-Learning and traditional learning, by experimental approach. This research addresses two research questions: 1. Are there the differences of the students achievement between E-Learning and traditional learning? 2. What practices are associated with more effective learning? ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 67

2 II. REVIEW LITERATURES A. Rangsit University In educational realm, university have adapted to the demand of the Internet economy to stay ahead in a high competitive world marketplace. The impact of technology in improving the learning process can not be ignored; at most every university now offers a form of online degree or certificate to students who can not be physically available to attend classes [6]. The most of educational institutions must offer innovative programs. Rangsit University (RSU) is a private university in Thailand, rushing to fill this need. Many of online courses, including degree and certificate programs are now offered by RSU. RSU announced its policy to establish a Rangsit cyber university ( To start, there are one baccalaureate and two graduate degree programs, as follow: Bachelor of Law. Master of Arts program in Leadership in Society, Business and Politics. Master of Science program in Information Technology Management (MSITM) It is found that enrollments in these programs at RSU increase in every year. They are the Internet-based distance programs, undertaken by a LMS (Learning Management System). LMS is software, responsible for: Public relations. Teaching-learning (electronic courseware, learning activity, and monitoring and evaluating students) Role of students (time scheduling, chat, web board, etc.) Role of instructors (course planning, monitoring and evaluating, chat, web board, etc.) As above, it is realized that the Internet becomes the dominant means of teaching-learning process - delivering information and knowledge. According to the MSITM, RSU presents opportunity for students in both online and offline programs. Therefore, they were chosen for the experiment in this research. B. E-Learning E-Learning is Internet-enabled learning [7]. To provide a comprehensive understanding, E-Learning is defined as a new education concept by using the Internet technology [3]. It is defined as interactive learning in which students learn through the usage of computers as an educational medium [9]. Moreover, Hassenberg pointed that E-Learning covers a wide set of applications and processes, including multimedia online activities such as the web, Internet video CD-ROM, TV and radio. Students can use these materials to teach themselves [1]. ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 68

3 The components of E-Learning include content delivery in multiple formats, management of the learning experience, a networked community of learners, and content developers and experts. E-Learning is personalized, focusing on the individual learner. Its environment includes self paced training, many virtual events, mentoring, simulation, collaboration, assessment, competency road map, authoring tools, e-store, and learning management system [7]. E-Learning uses the power of networks, not only the Internet but also satellite, and digital content to enable learning. The researcher suggests that instructors, learners as well as university should adapt to the changing environment, otherwise E-Learning would fail. According to Papanis [7], E-Learning provides faster learning at reduced cost, increased access to learning, and clear accountability for all participants in the learning process. However, Del, Low and Wilker argued that these benefits do not guarantee positive gains in instructional objectives due to minimal social interaction and minimal student and teacher expertise with the technology [2]. C. Traditional Learning Traditional learning is the learning under the scope of classroom, viewed as teacher-center and static. The learning is conducted with the whole class participating, taking place with in classroom and the school. The instructor conducts the lesson according to the study program and curriculum. Moreover, the instructor dictates the structure of the lesson and the division of time [4]. The components of traditional learning include blackboard, books, instructor and students in a classroom. The instructor usually talks more than the students and the students learn What but not How. The instructor is responsible to set all of tasks for students. When comparing E-Learning to the traditional learning, some of researcher rated E-Learning as more effective than traditional learning. However, there are some, rejected it with the reason of less social interaction, high cost investment, and technical problems in communication and computing technology. Nafukho [3] says E-Learning has a potential to improve students performance, but to boost success in the digital economy, individuals and institutions of higher learning must use research to guide the adaptation and integration of new technology into the learning process. Although some researchers are in favor of E-Learning and others are against it, no conclusion has been found. Based on the above literature, when E-Learning was shown by some researchers to effective, it would be meant that there are some differences of the effective uses between E-Learning and traditional learning. The purpose of this research is to compare the students achievement of E-Learning and traditional learning in term of student outcomes (total scores) and to examine the overall student satisfaction in teaching-learning process. The experimental hypothesis states that there is no statistically significant difference between the mean scores of students in E-Learning class and the mean scores of students in the traditional learning class, as measured by T-test. III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY A. Design This experiment was designed for a comparison of E- ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 69

4 Learning and traditional learning. A course of research methodology in IT in MSITM program, Rangsit University, was chosen for this experiment with some of reasons, as below: MSITM is a curricula in Rangsit University providing in both online and offline classes. Research methodology in IT course is important to graduate students, not only for further study purpose but also for everyday life purposes as well. Both of online and offline classes are used of the same instructor and equivalent of all relevant features. The students achievement of research methodology in IT course s learning was defined as the students level of understanding of the research process, is evaluated by total scores (means) as quantitative data and overall students satisfaction as qualitative data, as follow: Total scores are collected from three parts: A written test of a review research, assigned by the instructor to assess the level of group collaboration, score range A written test of a research proposal to assess the level of comprehension, score range An oral test of a research proposal to assess the level of presentation skill, score range For the qualitative data was collected by the interview of students. An interview with the instructor was conducted after the completion of the experiment (the end of term) in order to detect the students attitudes, satisfaction, and behavior concerning the teaching-learning process. B. Material E-Learning class: The learning material was stored in LMS. The instructor and students are provided the materials via the Internet. LMS was used for self-learning, virtual events, mentoring, collaboration, assessment, competency roadmap, registering, tracking, and so on. Traditional class: The instructor used the same content. The material presentation and instructor presentation are on the same quantity and quality of the learning material, not in a way that could bias the experiment s results. C. Procedures The students were not informed about the purpose of the experiment before it was completed. These are two experiments conducted in two regular semesters with two pairs of students groups. Lessons were conducted in Faculty of IT, Rangsit University for the traditional class. Students of the ELearning class received contents and events by LMS and were given the same amount of time to study it at their own pace. However, they were instructed to come to the university in order to take the oral test at the end of term (common for both classes) After the completion of the course, both groups took the oral tests and the interviews were held. ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 70

5 IV. RESULTS In this section, we are going to examine the evidence for the students achievements of learning process and the students satisfaction about their learning process, since the students were attend. A. Students Achievements Data was analyzed by MS Excel. The mean of total scores of students on each class was computed and two semesters mean scores of each pair of E-Learning and traditional class, as well as p-value were computed by T-test, summarized in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively. A T-test comparison analysis (as shown in Table 1 and 2) were performed in order to examine the differences between two groups of students. TABLE I. T-TEST TWO-SAMPLE ASSUMING UNEQUAL VARIANCES FOR EXPERIMENT 1 (SEMESTER 1/2011) Statistics Learning Process E-Learning Tradition Means Observations Hypothesized Mean Difference 0 df 54 P(T<=t) two-tail 0.60 TABLE II. T-TEST TWO-SAMPLE ASSUMING UNEQUAL VARIANCES FOR EXPERIMENT 2 (SEMESTER 1/2012) Statistics Learning Process E-Learning Tradition Means Observations 17 9 Hypothesized Mean Difference 0 df 20 P(T<=t) two-tail 0.18 The effect of mean scores of all experiments were not significant at 0.05 (95% confidence interval) (p -value = 0.60, 0.18 are greater than 0.05). The hypothesis was accepted. There are no differences on learning in these treatments. Moreover, the statistics revealed that mean scores of both of experiments under the traditional learning are higher than mean scores produced by E-Learning. Using experimental methodology, the researcher compared the mean scores of two students groups who were registered in each semester. Two semesters were spent for these experiments, whether the class size is small or large. The dependent measure was total scores that were used to compare the students achievement of the groups. It was found that the criterion of experimental control was reflected in having the class equivalent on all relevant features of the treatments except class size. Each of these situations was reflected in the fact of students registration in each semester. It was found that the differences of mean scores of E-Learning and traditional group were higher (diff = 0.9 ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 71

6 and 4.7) when class sizes were smaller (size = 24, 33 and 9, 17) among two experiments. B. Students Satisfaction : In this section, we are going to analyze the students satisfaction in order to answer the questions: what s and how s students prefer? Verdu, Requeras, Verdu, Custro, and Perez suggested that Students satisfaction is an important factor in order to measure the achievement of students of the learning process. Moreover, students satisfaction is associated with students achievement and it is also a key indicator of educational quality [8]. The interviews were used to assess the learning efficiency and satisfaction. summarized and compared as shown in table 3. The results have been TABLE III. A COMPARISON OF E-LEARNING AND TRADITIONAL SATISFACTION Traditional Class E-Learning Class Students have stay in class all day long (weekend program) (-) Students get more time to spend with family and friends (+) Students have opportunity directly discuss with the instructor (+) Student have to wait for instructor s respond by (-) Group dixcussion and work is not problem (+) Group discussion and work is difficult to do (-) The Internet technology is not necessary (+) The Internet Technology is needed (-) Students have no holidays during studying in the program (-) Students have opportunity to look for more money and improve their living standard (+) Classroom learning requires students personally to attend (-) Students set his own learning schedule (+) Students need travel cost (-) Students do not need travel cost (+) Students criticize that some students in a classroom may be too shy to get a chance to participate in front of peers (-) Students have a greater opportunity to communicate by or chat, far from a physical classroom (+) Students get more friends (+) Students seem to be alone (-) Students need the extra of instructor s office hours for advices (-) LMS is efficient (+) but Internet communication line seems to be not. And advices could be all day all time- 24/7 (-) Students prefer a small class (-) Class size is ignored (+) Class room is convenient and comfortable (+) Chat room is fine but typing is slower and more difficult than speaking (-) Students propose to have a blended of E-Learning facilities (-) Students propose to have a once or twice a term meeting at the university (-) Students need a review session before the final examination (-) Students need a review session before the final examination (-) Students do not have questions in the classroom because of the Students have the freedom to fix these class dependent on the events difficulty comprehending the lecture. They could not have a of the day (+) lecture to review again. (-) Students do not need Computer training. (+) Students need computer training, including how to use LMS (-) It is quite high tuition fee cost (-) It is very high tuition fee cost and need scholarship (-) V. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The results of these studies were shown that there are no differences on learning in these treatments but the mean scores of students under traditional learning seems to be higher comparing to the E-Learning. A further class size comparison in each semester was suggested that smaller size would reflect higher difference of mean scores of students ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 72

7 between ELearning and traditional learning. Both of online and offline programs have a lot in common but they have different aspects as well. A student may personally think E-Learning is better choice because of the flexibility in schedule and the comfort and convenience of learning from home. It provides 24/7 accessibility for students who have time management problems. This means that students need to take more responsibility for their own learning. However, E-Learning has not been all positive. E-Learning methodology has a lack of social-interaction, and it depends on the Internet communication with high cost. Nafukho [6] said Technology is only a facilitator; it can not replace the teacher. There is still a need to investigate how E-Learning can be better designed for successful delivery and what kind of students are well suited for this E-Learning methodology. Findings of research conducted in two experiments shown that traditional learning gave higher mean scores (as the outcome of study) when compared to mean scores of ELearning, even in many benefits of E-Learning. Furthermore, the findings from interviews suggested that E-Learning would fail for the following factors: the high cost, Internet connectivity problems, students computing ability, and maturity of students. And students in traditional class proposed to have a slight improvement in the students achievement by using a blended of E-Learning facility, such as blog, chat room, and E-store (contents and assignments). In addition, Students suggested having a small class size. In conclusion, this research aims to compare E-Learning and traditional methodology. It was found that there is no difference on learning in these treatments. They have different advantages. Thus, a learning methodology should be suitable for an individual student. The practices that are associated with more effective learning include: E-Learning should provide a once or twice meeting a semester and traditional learning should be added some of E-Learning facility such as chat room, blog and E-store and have a small class size. Finally, the researcher suggests that the blended learningmixed of E-Learning and traditional learning-would be an improvement of students achievement. Further small class size in traditional learning is also another factor of its success. REFERENCES [1] A.H. Hassenburg, Distance Education versus the Traditional Classroom, Berkeley Scientific Journal, vol. 13, pp , [2] C.A. Dell, C.Low and J.F.Wilker, Comparing Student Achievement in Online and Face-to-Face class formats, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 6., pp.30-42, [3] ChengZhi, Introduction to E-Learnikng [online]: Available at [4] D.R. Rashty, Traditional Learning vs. Elearning, [online]: Available at [5] D.Zhang, Virtual Mentor and Media Structuralization Theory, PH.D. Dissertation, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arisona, [6] Education &Human Development at Texas A&M University, ELearning better at improving performance than traditional instruction [online]:available at [7] E.Papanis, Traditional Teaching versus e-learnning [online] :. Available at ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 73

8 [8] E.Verdu, L.M.Regueras, M.J. Verdu, J.P.D. Custro, and M.A.Perez, An Analysis of the Research on Adaptive Learning: The Next Generation of E-learning, WSEAS Transaction on Information Science & Applications, Vol 5:p [9] Y.H.Tamsamani, Elearning versus Traditional Classroom [online]: Available at worldnews.com/2012. ) (ISSN : ), Volume No : 12 Issue No : 3..Page 74

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