Evaluation of E-Learning vs. Conventional Programs by Postgraduate Students: A Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis Model
Prospective postgraduate students encounter a typical multi-criteria decision problem when they evaluate alternative higher education institutions and postgraduate programs offered. Students’ decisions are mainly based on how well the attributes of the alternative programs and/or institutions coincide with their personal needs and aspirations. Nowadays, this decision making process, in addition to the “typical” questions, is complicated by new dimensions concerning the “mode of delivery”, i.e. an on-campus model or an e-learning program. In this article we propose a systematic and structured method for identifying factors which influence students’ decision. Particularly, we focus on institutional characteristics and program attributes that are taken into account by students when they are called to compare traditional and e-learning programs. In this research we illustrate the use of a multi-criteria decision model in order to demonstrate the evaluation of a program’s characteristics and at the same time to assess the relative importance which student attribute to each one of them. The results show that the use of this model has important policy implications and can provide a value tool for designers and administrators of postgraduate programs in the information society.
Keywords: E-Learning, Postgraduate Program Evaluation, Decision making Analysis, Multi-Attribute Utility Theory, Multi-Dimensional Scaling
Prof. Chryssi Vitsilakis
Vice Rector of Finance and Development, University of the Aegean
Dr. Ilias Efthimiou
Lecturer, School of Humanities, University of the Aegean