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Critical success factors in distance learning construction programs at Central Queensland University : students' perspective
Distance education has gone through rapid expansion over the years. Many Australian universities are pushing the use of distance education in delivering construction education programs. However, the critical success factors (CSFs) in distance learning construction programs (DLCPs) are not fully understood. More importantly, students' demographic features may affect the selection of distance education technologies. Situation-matching strategies should therefore be taken by universities or institutions with different student cohorts. A survey is adopted in Central Queensland University (CQU) to identify and rank the critical success factors in a DLCP in Australia where there is a significant number of earner-learners and students with low socioeconomic background. The findings suggest that the most important CSFs include access to computers and internet, reliability of web-based learning sites, high relevance and clarity of learning materials and assessment items, the availability of web-based learning sites that can be easily manipulated, and the capability of the instructors to provide well-structured courses. The findings also suggest that students with low socioeconomic background have more rigorous requirements on interface design, instructors' support, and the integration of practical components into courses. The results provide good guidance of the design and delivery of DLCPs and will be useful for universities and institutions that are seeking to implement the distance mode in construction education.