I investigated “The Effect of Student Satisfaction to Achievement in Online Distance Learning”. Voluminous research investigates the student satisfaction as a predictor of student achievement. Most of those studies concentrate on student satisfaction in traditional classroom setting, whereas online distance learning represents a different setting, with distinctive peculiarities and challenges. I intended to close the gap in the field, especially in Kazakhstan. The results of my study indicated strong correlation between student satisfaction and achievement in online distance learning. Hereupon, I discuss the data collection process in my research project.
I conducted a quantitative study, so I employed the most widespread and convenient instrument: a survey. I conducted the survey via Internet, as this was the most convenient way to collect data from the research sample. The survey consisted 25 questions divided into three main categories. The first category included background questions about the age and the gender of respondents. The second category included questions about factors predicting student satisfaction. This category was divided into sub-categories like, the role of instructor in student satisfaction in online distance learning, the impact of technology, and the student attitude towards online distance learning. The questions in this category were organized to measure the student satisfaction level. The third category included the question about the students’ Grade Point Average. Grade Point Average was used as an indicator of student achievement. Correlation of Student Satisfaction Level and Grade Point Average indicated answers to the initial research questions on the impact of student satisfaction on their achievements. Further on the data analysis process of the research confirmed the positive effect of student satisfaction on their achievements.
Everything did not flow smoothly as it was described earlier. I faced some challenges during the data collection process. The first, and probably the biggest challenges I faced were during the question formulation process. The difficulty was that I had to formulate questions myself, and this was my first such experience. I did my best to formulate sensible, coherent, and the most important, interlinked questions. Another challenge during the process was related to the recruitment. It was problematic to persuade everyone to participate in the survey. I am not sure, but probably these are the challenges that every new researcher faces.
Despite the challenges, there were obvious strengths of the data collection instrument. The most significant strengths of online survey is the convenience. Respondents choose the most convenient time and place to answer the survey. Another strengths of the instrument is the analysis of the responses that the online service provide. This considerably eases the researchers job during the data analysis process.
There is also other side of the coin. The only weakness that I faced during the data collection process was the interruption during the survey, so that not all respondent completed it. The researcher is incapable to intervene because you do not even know who is the one that did not complete the survey.
To sum up, I believe that overall it was a very useful experience. Especially, question formulation process will be a useful experience, even though the type of questions, and the research design differentiates from my proposed original thesis project. I hope that the instrument did not become the goal.