An Investigation of the Profiles of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Factors in E-Learning

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Various factors influence e-learners' feelings of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their e-learning experience, but from an extensive search with six major academic research databases we did not find any research that demonstrated comprehensive profiles of satisfying and dissatisfying factors in e-learning. We conducted a qualitative study to initiate the effort. We used Thorndike's law of effect and Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory as the conceptual frameworks for our study. Thorndike's law of effect applied to human psychology suggests that people would try to avoid annoying stimuli whereas they would try to preserve satisfying stimuli. Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory suggests that different factors influence extreme satisfaction and extreme dissatisfaction on the job. Using the two theories as the conceptual frameworks, we revealed profiles of satisfaction-dissatisfaction factors in e-learning by analyzing extant data of course evaluation obtained from 17 e-learning courses. In this article, we provide recommendations on how other e-learning institutions might utilize the research findings to optimize their e-learning programs and we discuss the potential impact of such interventions on overall institutional outcomes such as learner retention.