Teacher communication preferred over peer interaction: Student satisfaction with different tools in a virtual learning environment

David John Dowell, Felicity Small, Peter Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


Purpose – Teachers have access to a growing range of online tools to support course delivery, but which ones are valued by students? Expectations and satisfaction are important constructs in the delivery of a service product, and how these constructs operate in a service environment, such as education where the student can also take on the role of the customer is unknown. This study focuses on the student perspective of online tools. The aim of this paper is to measure students' expectations and perceived importance of, and satisfaction with, a range of tools available in a virtual learning environment.

Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative survey (n=396) was conducted and descriptive measures and statistical analysis were produced.

Findings – Results show that the tools that enable instructors to communicate with students and vice versa are more important to students and more satisfying to them than tools that enable students to interact with each other. Also, business students appear to be different from non-business students, with respect to desired communications tools.

Practical implications – The findings help us to understand business students' communication preference, which in turn helps teachers to create an educationally meaningful learning environment.

Originality/value – This work connects an established model for online interactions with students' expectations and level of satisfaction with tools that are currently being used in the online education environment.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114
Number of pages128
JournalJournal of International Education in Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Expectations
  • Interactions
  • Online Learning
  • Onling Learning Tools
  • Satisfaction
  • Students
  • Teachers


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