Date of Award

Fall 2005

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Todd DeMitchell


The growth of new technologies has caused renewed interest in distance learning and has impacted the instructional delivery of courses. This interest ranges from nontraditional learners to businesses using distance education to meet the needs of employees working in multiple geographic sites. A review of the literature suggests that interaction is an important factor in learning and that improving interaction improves transformational learning and constructivism. Since asynchronous delivery tools can potentially marginalize social and cultural skills prevalent in a classroom setting, new technology may resolve these issues.

This study examines a web-based, VoIP platform (Interwise) as a means for instructional delivery adopted to meet the business training needs of a mid-sized multinational company. The study addresses the following questions: (1) Are the instructional components of Interwise consistent with adult learning principles? (2) How do students report their experience with Interwise in comparison to their experience in a traditional classroom?

The study involved a convenience sample of 233 adult men and women participating in online training within a corporate environment. The archival data provided information on distance education and the fit of the delivery system with adult learning principles. Individuals responded to an online survey, identifying their responses on a Likert scale. Descriptive statistics were used for all questions and, in addition, correlation and ANOVAs were conducted.

Findings support the use of Interwise as a delivery method for adults. The data indicates the perception of Interwise by students is positive and the platform appears suited to the learning needs of adults. It is convenient, easy to access, and the majority of students were willing to take another class. Instructor-centered factors influenced students' perception of their experience. The most significant limitation was in the area of student-to-student interaction, with fewer opportunities for quality interaction than in a traditional classroom. While not part of the original research, the data raised questions regarding differences by geography and further research is recommended.