An analysis of learner satisfaction and learning outcomes in an online learning course at the University of Botswana's Faculty of Engineering.
Research findings have shown that online learning has the potential to improve the quality of learning if it is designed effectively to embrace interactive, collaborative knowledge building among learners. Online learning has the capacity to facilitate efficient and enjoyable learning through skills acquisition in a context specific environment especially in Southern Africa but there are a number of challenges that designers of online learning need to factor in to the design of this pedagogy. This study explores how learner - learner; learner - course facilitator and learner - content interactions influenced and shaped learners' online learning experiences particularly satisfaction with a course facilitated from the University of Botswana for participants within the SADC region. These three forms of interactions were further explored through using 6 online learning evaluation dimensions to provide a guide to the analysis. The study employed a range of data collection methods that provided rich qualitative data including: Life world accounts, discussion forum entries, online surveys, expert reviews, and learners' grades. The findings suggest that the learners' level of interaction at the levels of the 6 dimensions could have influenced what they perceived to be valuable, effective and satisfactory. Other influencing variables were course design and community of learning presence. The findings also reveal that although the participants found the course to be very valuable to them, there were areas that could improve the learning experiences. Further longitudinal research and investigation into alternative technologies is also recommended.