Transactional distance (TD), the perception of psychological distance between the student and his peers, his instructor/teacher, and the learning content, has long been a prominent construct in research on distance education. Today, distance education primarily takes place over the internet, with technology mediating engagement and communication. Because transactional distance in online distance learning will always rely on technologically-mediated communication or interaction, we argue that in order to get the full picture, this aspect of technological mediation needs to be considered. For this purpose, we introduce a new scale for measuring transactional distance between students and the learning technology (TDSTECH), comprised of two interrelated dimensions. Reliability, convergent, and discriminant validity suggest a suitable scale. Preliminary inferential analyses are conducted with multiple linear regression and mediation analysis. Regression models show that TDSTECH is the single most important predictor of satisfaction in this population. This may have important implications for practitioners trying design and facilitate satisfying online distance learning experiences. Also, mediator analysis reveals that TDSTECH mediates the relationship between TD student-teacher and satisfaction, but not for TD student-content. Surprisingly, TD student-student shows no significant relationship with satisfaction. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.
- transactional distance,
- learning technology,
- distance education,
- online learning
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