Effectiveness of a learner-directed model for e-Learning

Stella Lee, Trevor Barker, Vivekanandan Suresh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


It is a hard task to strike a balance between extents of control a learner exercises and the amount of guidance, active or passive, afforded by the learning environment to guide, support, and motivate the learner. Adaptive systems strive to find the right balance in a spectrum that spans between self-control and system-guidance. They also concern a smoother shifting of the balance point during learning episodes in light of competing requirements from learning goals, learner capacity, instructional affordances, and educational theories, among others. This research investigates one of the extremes of this spectrum, where learners actively assume control and take responsibility for their own learning, while catering to individual preferences with little or no guidance from the e-learning environment. In this study, one unit material from an online Introduction to Java Programming course has been redesigned based on the proposed Learner-Directed Model for the experimental design study. The model is developed based on the exploration of two educational theories - Experiential-Learning Theory (ELT) and Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) Theory. The study involved a total of 35 participants (N = 35) divided randomly into one Experimental Group and one Control Group. They were assigned to either a Learner-Directed Model (Experimental Group) or a linear model (Control Group). Pre/post tests, survey, follow-up interview as well as log file analysis were instruments used for assessing students' domain knowledge, meta-knowledge, and their attitudes for their overall learning experience. The results of the study have revealed that there is a statistically significant higher level of overall learning experience and better learning attitudes compared to Control Group students who studied with e-learning components that are linear in nature and are without explicit associations with educational theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Instructional design
  • Learner-directed model
  • Learning design
  • Learning preferences
  • Self-regulated learning


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