Student Perceptions of Online and Face-to-Face Learning

Meera Mather, Alena Sarkans


The rapid expansion of online learning in higher education in recent years has attracted a large number of students. In this paper, the researchers examined students’ perceptions of both online and face-to-face learning by conducting a qualitative study that surveyed 313 students from an Ontario community college. The objective was to explore students’ perspectives on the issues of learner preference, interactivity, workload, performance, and challenges. An analysis between the two groups, online and F2F, showed a difference in student perceptions and experiences.

Full Text:



Arslanyilmaz, A. & Sullins, J. (2013). The extent of instructor participation in an online

computer science course: How much is enough? The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(2), 63-74.

Bhagat, K. K., Wu, L. Y., & Chang, C. (2016). Development and validation of the

perception of students towards online learning (POSTOL). Educational Technology & Society, 19(1), 350-359. Retrieved from

Carr, S. (2000). As distance education comes of age, the challenge is keeping the

students. Chronicle of Higher Education, 46(23), A39-A41.

Castillo, M. (2013). At issue: Online education and the new community college student.

The Community College Enterprise, 19(2), 35-46. Retrieved from

Cole, M.T., Shelley, D.J., & Swartz, L. B. (2014). Online instruction, e-learning, and

student satisfaction: A three year study. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(6), 111-131.

Coleman, S. (2009). Why do students learn online? Retrieved from

Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods

approaches (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Diaz, D. P. (2000). Comparison of student characteristics, and evaluation of student

success, in an online health education course. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Retrieved from

Driscoll, A., Jicha, K., Hunt, A.N., Tichavsky, L., & Thompson, G. (2012). Can online

courses deliver in-class results? A comparison of student performance and satisfaction in an online versus a face-to-face introductory to sociology course. Teaching Sociology, 40(4), 312-331.

Drouin, M., Hile, R. E., Vartanian, L. R., Webb, J. (2013). Student preferences for online

lecture formats: Does prior experience matter? The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(3), 151-162. Retrieved from

Dutton, J., Dutton, M., & Perry, J. (2002). How do online students differ from lecture

students? Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 6(1), 1-20. Retrieved from

Ferguson, J.M. & DeFelice, A.E. (2010). Length of online course and student satisfaction,

perceived learning, and academic performance. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 11(2), 73-84.

Flynn, E. (2016). Should at-risk students take online courses? College Student Journal,

(1), 130-134(5). Retrieved from

Fredericksen, E., Pickett, A., & Shea, P. (2006). Student satisfaction and perceived

learning with on-line courses: Principles and examples from the SUNY learning network. Journal of asynchronous Learning Networks, 4(2), 2-31.

Glowa, E. (2009). Guidelines for professional development of online teachers. Atlanta,

GA: SREB Education Board, Educational Technology Cooperative.

Grosso, S. S., Teresa, S. L., & Grosso, J. E. (2012). Interactive questions concerning

online classes: Engaging students to promote active learning. International Journal of Education Research, 7(1), 49-59. Retrieved from

Halawi, L. A., Pires, S., & McCarthy, R. V. (2009). An evaluation of e-learning on the

basis of Bloom's taxonomy: An exploratory study. Journal of Education for Business, 84(6), 374-380. Retrieved from

Hogg, N., & Lomicky, C. S. (2012). Connectivism in postsecondary online courses: An

exploratory factor analysis. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 13(2), 95-114. Retrieved from

Jackson, L.C., Jones, S.J., Rodriguez, R.C. (2010). Faculty actions that result in student

satisfaction in online courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 14(4), 78-96.

Jung, II, Choi, S., Lim, C., & Leem, J. (2002). Effects of different types of interaction on

learning achievement, satisfaction and participation in web-based instruction. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 39(2), 153-162.

Kanuka, H., Heller, B., & Jugdev, K. (2008). The factor structure of teaching

development needs for distance-delivered e-learning. International Journal of Academic Development, 13, 129-139.

Khan, B. (2005). Managing E-learning strategies: Design, delivery, implementation and

evaluation. Igi Global: Hershey.

Kirmizi, O. (2015). The influence of learner readiness on student satisfaction and

academic achievement in an online program at higher education. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 14(1), 133-142.

Lazar, J. & Jaeger, P. (2011). Reducing barriers to online access for people with

disabilities. Journal of Issues in Science and Technology, 27(2), 69-82. Retrieved from

MacKay, K. (2014). Report on education in Ontario Colleges. OPSEU Communications.

Retrieved from

Meng-Jung, T. (2009). The model of strategic e-learning: Understanding and evaluating

student e-learning from metacognitive perspectives. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12(1), 34-48. Retrieved from

Morgan, K., Bruce B. A., & Williams K. C. (2009). Student perceptions of social task

development in online group project work. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(3), 285-294. Retrieved from

O’Neill, S., Scott, M., & Conboy, K. (2011). A Delphi study on collaborative learning in

distance education: The faculty perspective. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42, 939-949.

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2018). The opportunity to succeed: Achieving

barrier-free education for students with disabilities. Retrieved from

Ozerbas, M.A. & Erdogan, B.H. (2016). The effect of the digital classroom on academic

success and online technologies self-efficacy. Educational Technology & Society, 19(4), 203-212.

Paul, J.A. & Cochran, J.D. (2013). Key interactions for online programs between faculty,

students, technologies, and educational institutions: A holistic framework. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(1), 49-62.

Reisetter, M., LaPointe L., & Korcuska, J. (2007). The impact of altered realties:

Implications of online delivery for learners’ interactions, expectations, and learning skills. International Journal of E-Learning, 6(1), 55-80. Retrieved from

Renes, S. L. (2015). Increasing access to higher education through e-learning. In B.

Gradinarova (Ed.), E-learning – Instructional design, organizational strategy and management (pp. 347-361). doi:10.57772/60906

Roberts, T. S., & McInnerney, J.M. (2007). Seven problems of online group learning (and

their solutions). Educational Technology & Society, 10, 257-268.

Rovai, A.P. & Barnum, K. (2003). On-line course effectiveness: An analysis of student

interactions and perceptions of learning. Journal of Distance Education, 18(1), 57-73. Retrieved from

Steel, N., & Fahy, P. J. (2011). Attracting, preparing, and retaining under-represented

populations in rural and remote Alberta-north communities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(4), 35-53. doi:10.19173/irrodl.v12i4.936

Sturges, D.L. (2013). Techniques for increasing student engagement for contact hour

equivalence: Online courses that are flexplace, not flextime. Retrieved from

Wang, X. (2007). What factors promote sustained online discussions and collaborative

learning in a web-based course? International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 2(1), 17-38.

Xu, D., & Jaggars, S. S. (2013). Examining the effectiveness of online learning within a

community college system: An Instrumental variable approach (No. 56). New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved from


  • There are currently no refbacks.

  Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Copyright © 1986 - 2017 by World Council for Curriculum and Instruction (WCCI)
ISSN 1562-0506