Evaluation of on-line learning and students’ perception of workload

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for an Unknown Future Vol. 26

July, 2003, 692 pages
Published by
Helen Mathews and Rod McKay
0 90 8557 55 8

The influence of student workload on the quality of student learning has been recognised. Continuous increase in content and the push for flexible and on-line course delivery place constant pressure on student workload, and workload assessment forms an integral part of most course evaluation questionnaires used in tertiary institutions. While recognising that student workload is more complex than the objective measure of hours spent in learning, most researchers have used various ways of assessing just that. Researchers also recognise that it is the students’ perceptions of curriculum elements that need to be taken into account, rather than some ‘objective’ measure. Therefore it is the students’ perceptions of workload that are important. This is particularly important in the on-line learning environment, with issues of flexibility, continuous assessment, discrete learning activities and self-pacing of study. This paper describes students’ perceptions of workload in an on-line unit of study, ‘Sexuality for Health Professionals’ and compares it with that calculated by the course developers. Possible causes for the discrepancy in student and staff perceptions of workload are discussed as a basis for future research in this area.

Keywords: workload, on-line learning, course evaluation

Evaluation of on-line learning and students’ perception of workload

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Weerakoon, P.