An exploratory study of adult learners’ perceptions of online learning: Minority students in continuing education

  • Yu-Chun KuoEmail author
  • Brian R. Belland
Research Article


The study was an investigation of online adult learners’ perceptions of interaction, satisfaction, and performance within an online course using the Blackboard platform. Interaction included learners’ interaction with the instructor, content, and the classmates. The effect of student background variables and course-related variables on interaction was explored. Participants were 167 minority students enrolled in six online undergraduate-level courses from a university in the southeastern United States. The majority of the students were African-American working adults. Results indicated that learner–content interaction and learner–instructor interaction were significant predictors for student satisfaction in online settings in which group activities were not provided. Internet self-efficacy was positively associated with three types of interaction. Student satisfaction was positively related to student performance. Learner–instructor interaction was influenced the most by student background variables (gender, age, hours spent online), and learner–learner interaction by course-related variables (course length, course type, and the number of discussion forums). While it had the strongest influence on student satisfaction, learner–content interaction was not affected by student- or course-related variables.


Interaction Online learning Learning outcomes Internet self-efficacy Minority students Adult education 


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of STEAM EducationRowan UniversityGlassboroUSA
  2. 2.Instructional Technology & Learning SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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