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Differences between online and traditional instruction methods: Performance and satisfaction in an interior design course DISSERTATION

, Colorado State University, United States

Colorado State University . Awarded


With increasing enrollment in distance education courses and limited classroom space on university campuses, departments are exploring where technology can better meet program and student needs. This study researched online education for the major of Interior Design using WebCT. The initial required course for interior design majors, primarily freshman college students, was selected for the experiment. Using a quantitative approach, the research measured differences in student performance and satisfaction between two teaching methods. One class was randomly divided between a traditional classroom group and an online group learning the same content using home or lab computers. The researcher designed and instructed a unit on the principles of design for both methods.

A parallel pretest-posttest instrument was developed for performance. It was compared using both t-tests on gain scores and ANCOVA on post-test scores. Students completed a satisfaction survey with evaluation questions, written comments, and learning activity ratings. The Mann-Whitney U test compared group mean satisfaction ratings.

Findings indicated no significant difference in learning gain between online and traditional groups. ANCOVA results were closer to being significant. Descriptive statistics indicated a greater range of test scores and satisfaction ratings within the online group. Findings showed a significant difference in satisfaction between groups, with online less satisfied.

The process for unit development is discussed with student and instructor reactions. WebCT tools were explored to see how they could uniquely support the needs of art-related courses for illustrative material and hand-on activities. The electronic environment was intended to enable distant communication and team interaction. Student comments and ratings showed the majority of online activities were acceptable, but many did not want or participate in written team discussions or final team project analysis.

It was concluded that the online format used was not conducive to large classes and better suited for courses where Internet or text provide the visual content and for upper level students with greater time management and computer skills. WebCT offered a variety of tools to facilitate visual material and cooperative activities. Examples and results from the online unit can be viewed with recommendations to help online teaching in Interior Design.


Charlson, J.K. Differences between online and traditional instruction methods: Performance and satisfaction in an interior design course. Ph.D. thesis, Colorado State University. Retrieved March 23, 2018 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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