Technology, Knowledge and Learning

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 169–184 | Cite as

The Changing Importance of Factors Influencing Students’ Choice of Study Mode

  • Matthew Bailey
  • Dirk Ifenthaler
  • Maree Gosper
  • Mandy Kretzschmar
  • Cheryl Ware
Online Learning


Despite the expansion of online and blended learning, as well as open education, until relatively recently little research has been undertaken on what motivates students to enrol in particular study modes at university level. This project contributes to recent scholarship in the field by exploring the reasons why humanities students choose to study through specific modes. The research was conducted between October 2013 and March 2014 administering three waves of data collection to over 700 students who were enrolled in humanities units being offered simultaneously through three different modes: on-campus, distance, and open and online. The findings suggest that students choose different enrolment modes based on factors such as personal, learning support, environment, advice and marketing, teaching and learning as well as logistics. However, the importance students ascribe to particular factors changes during their educational experience. This study found significant differences in the importance of factors between initial and subsequent choices of enrolment mode, suggesting that the ‘lived’ experience of students at university influences their perception of which factors are important.


Educational pathways Study mode Higher education Australia Humanities students  Open education 



Funding for this research was generously provided by Macquarie University under its Learning and Teaching grant scheme. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their detailed and helpful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Bailey
    • 1
  • Dirk Ifenthaler
    • 2
  • Maree Gosper
    • 1
  • Mandy Kretzschmar
    • 1
  • Cheryl Ware
    • 1
  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Curtin UniversityPerthAustralia

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