Understanding the ways in which design features of educational websites impact upon student learning outcomes in blended learning environments

David Kember, Carmel McNaught, Fanny C.Y. Chong, Paul Lam, K. F. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the effectiveness, in terms of the attainment of relevant learning outcomes, of the types of learning promoted by educational features commonly incorporated in course management systems. Twenty-one courses with significant use of the Internet, but with face-to-face teaching as the predominant instructional mode, were investigated. Five hundred and ninety-five students taking these 21 courses completed a questionnaire which gave feedback on the extent of use of and quality of implementation of internet features, as well as their perception of the attainment of outcomes relating to approaches to learning, communication skills and understanding of content. A confirmatory factor analysis of scales pertinent to information presentation and constructive dialogue features showed a very poor fit to the data, indicating that the two types of function did not act in concert. Structural equation modelling was used to test instructional models in presage-process-product format for 'information' and 'dialogue' features. The information one showed a marginal fit to the data, but the dialogue one a very good fit. This shows that using the Internet for presenting information in a blended environment does not seem to effectively help students achieve learning outcomes. Using features which promote constructive dialogue and interactive learning activities encourages a deep approach to learning, the development of communication skills and enhanced understanding of content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1192
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Interactive learning environments
  • Pedagogical issues
  • Teaching/learning strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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