Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Learning and Technology


Educational Psychology

First Committee Member

Neal Strudler, Chair

Second Committee Member

Kendall Hartley

Third Committee Member

Gregory Schraw

Graduate Faculty Representative

James R. Crawford

Number of Pages



Recent meta-analyses on the efficacy of distance education have concluded that no significant difference exists between face-to-face and distance education. At the same time, these meta-analyses noted that considerable heterogeneity existed between the individual studies used in the meta-analyses. Investigation of moderators responsible for that heterogeneity suggested that four things other than media delivery were primarily responsible for the majority of variation between study outcomes: methodological quality, instructor involvement, type of interaction, instructional methods and time-on-task. A comparative meta-analysis was performed to further investigate these moderators. Methodological quality, maturational differences in students and any undetermined media effects were controlled for through the inclusion process: Only Web-based courses delivered entirely at a distance (no blended courses were included) to adult learners and studies that were quasi-experimental or experimental in design were included. The effect of time-on-task on student outcomes is well documented in the literature and not addressed in the present study. A main effect for Web-based, adult distance instruction ( g = .777; k = 59; SE = .078) was found. Results suggest Web-based distance education appears to have improved over time and that independent study, Behaviorist instructional strategies, instructor moderated collaboration, provision of formative feedback and the use of multimedia are more effective practices to use in Web-based distance education with adults. The need for more research into specific instructional strategies used in Web-based distance education and appropriate assessments for each is discussed.


Distance education; Teaching; Web-based instruction


Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Education | Instructional Media Design | Science and Technology Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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