Abstract—Several researchers have reported that cultural
and language differences can affect online interactions and
communications between students from different cultural
backgrounds. Other researchers have asserted that online
learning is a tool that can improve teaching and learning skills,
but its effectiveness depends on how the tool is used. To delve
into these aspects further, this study set out to investigate the
kinds of learning difficulties encountered by the international
Asian students, in particular Malaysian students and how they
actually coped with online learning. The modified Online
Learning Environment Survey (OLES) instrument was used to
collect data from the sample of 76 students at a university in
Brisbane. A smaller group of 35 Australian students was also
included for comparison purposes. Contrary to assumptions
from previous research, the findings revealed that there were
only few differences between the international Asian students
from Malaysia and Australian students with regards to their
perceptions of online learning. Recommendations based on the
findings of this research study were made for Australian
universities where Asian international students from Malaysia
study online. Specifically the recommendations highlighted the
importance of upskilling of lecturers’ ability to structure their
teaching online and to apply strong theoretical underpinnings
when designing learning activities such as discussion forums,
and for the university to establish a degree of consistency with
regards to how content is located and displayed in a learning
management system like Blackboard.
Index Terms—Asian international students, online learning, online learning environments, online learning environment survey (OLES), Net Gen, support for learning.
Renee Chew is with the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (IT Division), INTI International University, Nilai, Malaysia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Renee Chew Shiun Yee, "Perceptions of Online Learning in an Australian University: Malaysian Students’ Perspective – Support for Learning," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 5, no. 8, pp. 587-592, 2015.