The dimensions of e-learning quality: from the learner’s perspective

  • Insung JungEmail author
Research Article


The present study was designed to identify the quality dimensions as perceived by adult learners who had taken one or more e-learning courses offered by higher education institutions in South Korea and to identify and confirm the structural features of these quality dimensions. The results of the exploratory factor analysis arising from a survey of 299 learners revealed that from their perspective, there were seven dimensions in evaluating the e-learning quality: Interaction, Staff Support, Institutional Quality Assurance Mechanism, Institutional Credibility, Learner Support, Information and Publicity and Learning Tasks. And the confirmatory factor analysis with responses obtained from another set of 496 adult learners confirmed a good fit of the seven-factor model to the observed data. While most of these seven dimensions are supported by previous studies, some dimensions, such as technology support, content and evaluation/assessment that e-learning providers had highlighted did not appear to be important for Korean adult learners. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed in relation to learner characteristics, e-learning design, and culture, and further research topics are suggested.


CFA EFA e-learning e-learning quality Learner’s perspective Quality 


  1. Anderson, T., & Elloumi, F. (Eds.). (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Canada: Athabasca University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonk, C. J. (2004). The perfect e-storm: Emerging technology, enormous demand, enhanced pedagogy and erased budgets. The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, June. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from
  4. Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with Amos: Basic concepts applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Cashion, J., & Palmieri, P. (2002). The secret is the teacher: The learners’ view of online learning. Leabrook, Australia: National Center for Vocational Education Research. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from
  6. Cho, I. H., & Lim, K. (2002). A study on the factors that influence students’ performance in GBS-based e-learning environment. Korean Journal of Educational Technology, 18(4), 139–170.Google Scholar
  7. Dhanarajan, G. (2005). Sustaining knowledge societies through distance learning: The nature of the challenge. Paper presented at the 19th annual conference of the association of Asian open universities, Jakarta, Indonesia.Google Scholar
  8. Dolog, P., Henze, N., Nejdl, W., & Sintek, M. (2004). Personalization in distributed e-learning environments. In Proceedings of the 13th international conference on World Wide Web––alternate track papers and posters (pp. 170–179).Google Scholar
  9. Dondi, C., Moretti, M., & Nascimbeni, F. (2006). Quality of e-learning: Negotiating a strategy, implementing a policy. In U. D. Ehlers & J. M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on quality and standardization in e-learning (pp. 31–50). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ehlers, U. (2004) Quality in e-learning from a learner’s perspective. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, I. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from
  11. Ehlers, U., Goertz, L., Hilderbrant, B., & Pawlowsky, J. M. (2005). Use and dissemination of quality approaches in European e-learning. A study by the European Quality Observatory. Cedefop Panorama series (p. 116). Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Retrieved January 22, 2010, from
  12. Ehlers, U. D., & Pawlowski, J. M. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook on quality and standardisation in e-learning. Berlin, Heidelberg and New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. EIU. (2003). The 2003 E-learning readiness rankings. The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from
  14. E-Learning Advisory Group. (2002). Highways and pathways: Exploring New Zealand’s e-learning opportunities. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from
  15. Finch, H. (2006). Comparison of the performance of varimax and promax rotations: Factor structure recovery for dichotomous items. Journal of Educational Measurement, 43(1), 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Frydenberg, J. (2002). Quality standards in e-learning: A matrix of analysis. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(2). Retrieved February 10, 2010, from
  18. Gillis, L. (2000). Quality standards for evaluating multimedia and online training. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  19. Hailey, D. E., Keith, G. D., Jr., & Hult, C. A. (2001). Online education horror stories worthy of Halloween: A short list of problems and solutions in online instruction. Computers and Composition, 18, 387–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hay, D. B., Kehoe, C., Miquel, M. E., Kinchin, I. M., Hatzipanagos, S., Keevil, S. F., et al. (2008). Measuring the quality of e-learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(6), 1037–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ITU. (2007). Digital opportunity index. International Telecommunications Union. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from
  22. Jang, I., Heo, J. Y., & Lee, K. J. (2003). A study on legal foundations to promote e-learning: Focusing on cyber universities. Seoul: Korea Education and Research Information Service.Google Scholar
  23. Jang, E. J., Jung, Y. R., Seo, Y. K., Yum, C. H., & Ryu, P. J. (2006). Outcome analysis of cyber universities. Seoul: Korea Education and Research Information Service.Google Scholar
  24. Jara, M., & Mellar, H. (2007). Exploring the mechanisms for assuring quality of e-learning courses in UK higher education institutions. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 1. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from
  25. Jung, I. S. (2005). Quality assurance survey of mega universities. In C. McIntosh & V. Zeynep (Eds.), Perspectives on distance education: Lifelong learning and distance higher education (pp. 79–98). Vancouver and Paris: Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO.Google Scholar
  26. Jung, I. S. (2008). Quality assurance and continuous quality improvement in distance education. In T. Evans, M. Haughey, & D. Murphy (Eds.), International handbook of distance education (pp. 609–624). London: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  27. Jung, I. S., & Latchem, C. (2007). Assuring quality in Asian open and distance learning. Open Learning, 22(3), 235–250.Google Scholar
  28. Kaiser, H. F. (1960). The application of electronic computers to factor analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 141–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kirkpatrick, D. (2005). Quality assurance in open and distance learning. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from
  30. Latchem, C., & Jung, I. S. (2009). Distance and blended learning in Asia. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Leem, J. H., & Lim, C. (2007). The current status of e-learning and strategies to enhance educational competitiveness in Korean higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(1). Retrieved January 14, 2010, from
  32. Lodzinski, T., & Pawlowski, J. M. (2006). The quality mark e-learning: Developing process- and product-oriented quality. In U. D. Ehlers & J. M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on quality and standardization in e-learning (pp. 109–124). Berlin, Heidelberg and New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McNaught, C. (2001). Quality assurance for online courses: From policy to process to improvement? In G. Kennedy, M. Keppell, C. McNaught, & T. Petrovic (Eds.), Meeting at the crossroads. Proceedings of the 18th annual Australian society for computers in learning in tertiary education 2001 conference (pp. 435–42). University of Melbourne, 9–12 December. Retrieved December 10, 2009, from
  34. MEST. (2007). A report on comprehensive evaluation of cyber universities in 2007. Seoul: Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  35. MEST. (2008). A report on comprehensive evaluation of cyber universities in 2008. Seoul: Korean Ministry of Education Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  36. Meyer, K. (Ed.) (2002). Quality in distance education: Focus on online learning. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 29(4).Google Scholar
  37. Meyers, L. S., Guarino, A. J., & Gamst, G. (2006). Applied multivariate research: Design and interpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. Middlehurst, R., & Woodfield, S. (2004). International quality review and distance learning: Lessons from five countries. CHEA occasional paper. CHEA Institute for Research and Study of Accreditation and Quality Assurance.Google Scholar
  39. NIPA. (2008). E-learning industry white paper. Korea: National IT Industry Promotion Agency.Google Scholar
  40. Pawlowski, J. M. (2006). Adopting quality standards for education and e-learning. In U. D. Ehlers & J. M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on quality and standardization in e-learning (pp. 65–77). Berlin, Heidelberg and New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pedro, F. (2009). New millennium learners in higher education: Evidence and policy implication. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from
  42. Phipps, R. A., & Merisotis, J. P. (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in internet-based education. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from
  43. Reips, U. D. (2002). Standards for internet-based experimenting. Experimental Psychology, 49, 243–256.Google Scholar
  44. Saito, T. (2009). Quality assurance of distance education/e-learning. Report of project group 3: Asia Pacific quality network. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from
  45. Selim, H. M. (2007). Critical success factors for e-learning acceptance: Confirmatory factor models. Computers and Education, 49(2), 396–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sink, C. A., & Spencer, L. R. (2007). Teacher version of the class inventory––short form: An accountability tool for elementary school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 11(2), 129–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stella, A., & Gnanam, A. (2004). Quality assurance in distance education: The challenges to be addressed. Journal of Higher Education, 47(2), 143–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Strother, J. B. (2002). An assessment of the effectiveness of e-learning in corporate training programs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(1). Retrieved February 10, 2010, from
  49. Sun, P., Tsai, R. J., Finger, G., Chen, Y., & Yeh, D. (2008). What drives a successful e-learning? An empirical investigation of the critical factors influencing learner satisfaction. Computers and Education, 50(4), 1103–1586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Suzuki, K., & Jung, I. S. (in press). Instructional design and technology in an Asian context: Focusing on Japan and Korea. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  51. Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. (2008). E-learning quality aspects and criteria for evaluation of e-learning in higher education. Report 2008:11 R. Stockholm: Högskoleverkets rapportserie. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from
  52. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). NY: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  53. Tao, Y. H. (2008). Typology of college student perception on institutional e-learning issues: An extension study of a teacher’s typology in Taiwan. Computers and Education, 50(4), 1495–1508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Twigg, C. A. (2001). Quality assurance for whom? Providers and consumers in today’s distributed learning environment. Retrieved May 14, 2010, from
  55. Yeung, D. (2002). Toward an effective quality assurance model of Web-based learning: The perspective of academic staff. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 5(2). Retrieved September 4, 2010, from

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Media and SocietyInternational Christian UniversityMitaka-shi, TokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations