Online versus Traditional Instruction in a Community College

Sirpa H. Cossaboon, Grand Canyon University


The purpose of this quantitative causal-comparative study was to assess if online and traditional learning environments are similar and whether there are gender differences, as measured by final grades, within the scope of a community college psychology course taught by a single instructor using the same curriculum and learning materials. Bandura’s social learning theory guided this study, as it accounts for environmental, situational, and personal factors of learning. This study sought to answer two research questions utilizing quantitative methodology and causal-comparative study design. The sample (n = 266) consisted of pre-existing archival data for final grades from students enrolled in the same psychology course taught both online and in a traditional setting, by the same instructor for two semesters at a community college in southeastern Pennsylvania. The findings of this study show that online learning is equal to traditional learning and that there are no gender differences across settings within the scope of a community college psychology course. Future research should focus on any potential interaction between gender, learning environment, and underlying reasons for any differences in learning that may impact student educational achievement in community college general education.

Keywords: online instruction, traditional instruction, gender differences in learning

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