Structured support versus learner choise via the World Wide Web (WWW): Where is the payoff?

Koos Winnips, Jef Moonen, Betty Collis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this exploratory study, students were given the choice of two forms of participation in a course. One form involved structured instructor support, in which the students were required to sub-mit work via the WWW for regular feedback from the instructor and also to make use of various WWW-based tools in the differ-ent phases of their work. The other form of participation made the same possibilities and tools available but did not require or structure their use. Although this exploratory study was not car-ried out under strict experimental conditions, the results of com-paring the 18 students in the structured-support approach with the 7 students in the learner-choice form showed that, although students in the structured-support variant spent twice as much time on the course as did students in the learner-choice variant, there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of overall performance on the final examination and little differ-ence in attitudes. Dividing the test questions into knowledge-type and transfer-type questions did show a marginally signifi-cant (p=.054) difference in performance on transfer-type ques-tions favouring the structured-support group, although these re-sults are no more than pointers for further research given the ex-ploratory nature of the study. Reflections based on the study are presented, particularly related to the costs and benefits of the two forms of participation in terms of instructor and learner time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-196
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of interactive learning research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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