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  • FACTORS AFFECTING ADOPTION AND DIFFUSION OF DISTANCE EDUCATION AMONG HEALTH EDUCATION FACULTY

    By

    James W. Ball

    B.S., University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2002 M.S., University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2007

    A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the

    Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree with a concentration in Health Education

    Department of Health Education and Recreation in the Graduate School

    Southern Illinois University, Carbondale May 2013

  • FACTORS AFFECTING DISTANCE EDUCATION ii

    AN ABSTRACT FOR THE DISSERTATION OF

    JAMES W. BALL, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in HEALTH EDUCATION, presented on March 19th, 2013 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

    TITLE: FACTORS AFFECTING ADOPTION AND DIFFUSION OF DISTANCE EDUCATION AMONG HEALTH EDUCATION FACULTY MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Joyce Fetro and Dr. Roberta Ogletree Background: In the past decade, distance education enrollment has become more common in

    colleges and universities, increasing from 1.6 million students in 1998 to an estimated 6.7

    million in 2012. The purpose of this study was to identify which constructs in Rogers (2003)

    diffusion of innovation theory are more likely to contribute to adoption and diffusion of distance

    education in health education. Hopefully, health education instructors and faculty will use the

    information obtained from the results of this study to implement distance education.

    Methods: A quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive, and correlational survey design was used

    in this study. An instrument designed to measure constructs and factors affecting the adoption

    and diffusion of distance education in health education was developed for the study. Health

    educators employed by health education departments listed in the AAHE (2011) Directory

    (n=498) were contacted by email and asked to participate in this study. The survey was

    distributed through SurveyMonkey survey software that was activated December 2012 -

    January 2012.

    Results: A total of 245 health education faculty completed the instrument, but 21 participants

    were omitted because they did not complete at least 95% of the survey instrument. A total of

    224 survey instruments were retained and included in the analysis, providing a 44.9% response

    rate. Overall, the likelihood of distance education adoption by health education faculty is highly

    dependent on the communication channels and characteristics of the innovation (distance

  • FACTORS AFFECTING DISTANCE EDUCATION iii

    education) constructs of the diffusion of innovation theory. There was a large majority of

    participants in the early majority adopter category and this is because of two reasons.

    Participants have not decided whether to accept or reject distance education. Distance education

    is a relatively new innovation and it has not fully diffused through the health education

    profession. Experience with distance education was not shown to increase the likelihood of

    distance education adoption because the majority of participants have not yet decided whether to

    accept or reject distance education. The social system construct was the least predictive of

    distance education adoption. If distance education has not yet fully diffused through the health

    education profession then it is hard for the social system to impact the likelihood of distance

    education adoption.

  • FACTORS AFFECTING DISTANCE EDUCATION iv

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................ ii

    List of Tables ..................................................................................................................... vi

    List of Figures .................................................................................................................. viii

    Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................. 1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1 Background of the Problem............................................................................................. 1 Theoretical Framework ................................................................................................... 3 Need of the Study ............................................................................................................ 5 Purpose of the Study ....................................................................................................... 6 Significance to Health Education .................................................................................... 7 Research Questions ......................................................................................................... 8 Research Design .............................................................................................................. 9 Study Participants ............................................................................................................ 9 Data Collection ................................................................................................................ 9 Data Analyses ................................................................................................................ 10 Assumptions .................................................................................................................. 11 Limitations .................................................................................................................... 11 Delimitations ................................................................................................................. 12 Definition of Terms ....................................................................................................... 12 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 15

    Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................................. 17 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 17 The Evolution of Distance Education ........................................................................... 17 The Current State of Distance Education ...................................................................... 20 Advantages of Distance Education in Education and Health ........................................ 24 Disadvantages of Distance Education in Education and Health .................................. 35 Effective Implementation Practices in Distance Education .......................................... 39 Diffusion of Innovation ................................................................................................. 40 Diffusion of Innovation in Education and Health ........................................................ 48 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 50

    CHAPTER 3 METHODS ................................................................................................. 51 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 51 Purpose of the Study ..................................................................................................... 51 Research Questions ....................................................................................................... 52

  • FACTORS AFFECTING DISTANCE EDUCATION v

    Instrument Development ............................................................................................... 52 Research Design ............................................................................................................ 57 Study Participants .......................................................................................................... 58 Data Collection .............................................................................................................. 60 Data Analysis ................................................................................................................ 61 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 63

    Chapter 4 Results .............................................................................................................. 67 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 67 Purpose of the Study ..................................................................................................... 67 Research Questions ....................................................................................................... 67 Sample Demographics................................................................................................... 68 Analysis of Research Questions ................................................................................... 72 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 92

    Chapter 5 Summary, Conclusions, Discussion, and Recommendations .......................... 94 Introduction ....................................................................................................