Viet Nam is a long country with a coast line of around 3,200 kilometers. It is located in the Indochina peninsula that belong to South East Asia region with the total area of 329,314 square kilometers. Vietnam population is around 86 million people in 2009 in which women make up for 50.86% (CIA World Fact book, 2009). Vietnam has conducted economic reform since 1994, and up to now, it has gained many achievements in effort of overcoming under-developed situation. Vietnam government also strives to take this country becoming a developed country by 2020 (United Nation, 2009).
The number of learners in higher education institutions rose dramatically from 50,000 (29,000 in the North and 20,834 in the South) in 1964 to 150,000 in 1980 (Cima, 1987, Education section, 11). Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are two main locations for higher education in Vietnam (Cima, 1987). "In the academic years of 2002-2003, there were 111 universities and 119 colleges in the higher education system; of which 15 universities are the private, 2 semi-public, and 2 private colleges" (Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, 2006, p.1). There were around 1 million students that being trained by the lecturer team of 32,000 people "of whom 5,476 lecturers had PhD degrees (17%), 9,543 have Master degrees (29.6%), and 17,186 have bachelor's degrees (53.4%) (MOET, 2006). There were only 324 of these lecturers were the professors (1%) and 1,124 associate professors (3.49%)" (MOET, 2006, p.1). However, the country spent less than 2% of its GDP on education (CIA World Fact book, 2009). This investment increased in the 1990s to about 3.5% based on a renewed commitment to higher education by the Vietnamese government (Kelly, 2000). This is less than 20% of what another communist nation, Cuba, spent. For a nation to emerge and sustain itself there must be a commitment either by the government or individual citizens to educate themselves. Although over 90% of the Vietnamese population over the age of 15 is considered literate (CIA World Fact book, 2009), before 2000 less than 1% of the population has a college degree (Kelly, 2000). Through these statistic numbers, the huge market of 89% Vietnamese population for higher education still is opened for foreign institutions.
Statement of the Problem
The problem of this research is that Vietnamese higher education learners cannot approach modern academic knowledge through domestic educational system. Fortunately, today's students might pursue the formal education without leaving their country by enrolling in an online education program offered by American universities. It is estimated that in Vietnam, there are nearly 60 million young people (Vietnam General Statistic Office, 2005) that are eager for learning. However the Vietnamese education system did not have enough training ability to satisfy this learning demand. That is the enormous problem for Vietnamese educational authority overcoming. Qualitative research methods explores the perception of Vietnamese graduate candidates, ages 25-35, regarding the value of online learning from American sources of higher education. Vietnamese higher education learners' demand creates an enormous market for American universities' online education programs. Nevertheless, there are very few studies that researched on Vietnamese learners' demand for American online education.
Restatement of the Problem
The problem of this research is that Vietnamese higher education learners cannot approach modern academic knowledge through domestic educational system. Fortunately, today's students might pursue the formal education without leaving their country by enrolling in an online education program offered by American universities. It is estimated that in Vietnam, there are nearly 60 million young people (Vietnam General Statistic Office, 2005) that are eager for learning. However the Vietnamese education system did not have enough training ability to satisfy this learning demand. Vietnam's universities are largely sequestered from international education society, because of the poor publication record (Vallely and Wilkinson, 2009). Vietnamese universities are not producing the educated workforce so that satisfy society demand. The recent public surveys have revealed that a half Vietnamese university graduates cannot find suitable jobs, evidence that the disconnection between classroom and the needs of the market is large (Vallely and Wilkinson, 2009). That is the enormous problem for Vietnamese educational authority overcoming.
Qualitative research methods will be used to explore the perception of Vietnamese graduate candidates, ages 25-35, regarding the value of online learning from American sources of higher education. Vietnamese higher education learners' demand creates an enormous market for American universities' online education programs. Nevertheless, there are very few studies that researched on Vietnamese learners' demand for American online education.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the Vietnamese learners' high demand on learning at higher education. In the research, the chances offered by American online education system will be defined as the satisfied source for high learning demand of Vietnamese young learners.
The focus of this study is how Vietnamese learners may advance their knowledge in higher education that offered by American online education system. For now, online education is defined as "the fundamental method to unite the distance-learning instructor with the distance learner is the network. Networks suitable for distance learning implementations include satellite, cable modem, digital subscriber lines (DSL), and wireless cable" (Collins, 2002, Introduction section, 1). For many Vietnamese learners, they think that they should attend the traditional classrooms where they can communicate directly to lecturers rather than join in a virtual class through online education methodology.
Online education offers the opportunities that bring to Vietnamese learners to approach the worldwide modern knowledge. American online education could launch the training programs through a multifaceted instructional delivery system such as: audio, video, computer, and networking technologies.
Research questions are distinct and answerable, given the identified constructs/phenomena and population (Creswell, 2009). With these characters, the following research questions are developed.
How do Vietnamese learners advance knowledge in higher education that offered by American online education system? This core question starts with "how"; apply an open-ended verb, "advance"; concentrate on a concept, "knowledge in higher education"; and it describes the participants, Vietnamese learners, in the research. This core question reflects how this research tries to make a succinct question that needed to be explored in the study.
The interview protocol will also focus on the following 5 sub-qualitative questions:
Q1: What are the unique features of American online programs that the Vietnamese learners will choose to study?
Q2: What tuition range is the most expectation level for American online programs?
Q3: What training facilities are the most important factors in choosing American online program?
Q4: What information resources are the most important sources about American online programs?
Q5: What admission criterion is the most obstruction for American online programs?
The qualitative methodology with multiple sources of data is used for exploring and understanding the Vietnamese learners' impression to American online education. "The process of research involves emerging questions and procedures, data typically collected in the participant's setting, data analysis inductively building from particulars to general theme, and the researcher making interpretations of the meaning of the data" (Creswell, 2009, p. 4). This qualitative approach allows the researchers to innovate and work more within the chosen topic. It also allows more creativity in literary-style writing that the researchers can express all thinking about the chosen topic in their minds. The institutional theory is the supposition of this research to complement the analysis. This analysis explains the processes through which American universities endeavor to create institutional benchmarks in an educational environment (Grandy & Wicks, 2008).
Operational Definition of Constructs
The following questions will be answered in this qualitative research: what can this research do to ensure the credibility of the inquiry and how does the researcher maintain the integrity of the study (Schram, 2006). To answer the above two questions, the study will be kept to meet two dimensions. The first question focuses on the following sections as practical considerations, concerns standards for competent performance as a fieldworker and reflects on issues of researcher presence, the inevitable selectivity of fieldwork, and the play of subjectivity. The second dimension, ethical considerations, refers to standards for conduct based on moral principles and includes issues of posturing and role presentation, exchange and disclosure, making public the private and building relationships amid expectations of eventual departure.
Lincoln and Guba (1985) developed the concepts of dependability and credibility. Dependability describes the researchers' "ability to know where the data in a given study comes from, how it was collected, and how it was used" (Shank, 2006, p. 114). Applying the research about how Vietnamese learners advance knowledge in higher education offered by the American online education system, the researcher can increase dependability by using member checks that is applied when external people examine the data of the inquirers to make sure this information is reflecting what the researchers claim they say.
Credibility reflects the level of believability of the study findings. In credible studies, the information is conformable and adhesive rather than scattered and inconsistent (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Applying this credibility concept into the aimed research, the research's participants should be usually contacted to sustain the credibility. Through these communications, the research's participants can be understood about their behaviors as well as their feedbacks.
This study will be conducted on the two largest cities in Vietnam: Hochiminh and Hanoi. There are eight American institutions conducted their online higher education programs in these cities. The research's participants will be contacted to collect information by either direct interviews or by telephone interviews. These interviews involve unstructured and generally open-ended questions that are few and intended to elicit views and opinions from the participants. Sampling in qualitative research involves identifying participants who can provide insight into the specific and personal experiences to be examined rather than obtaining a representative sample, as would be sought in a quantitative study. Purposive, maximum variation sampling was undertaken in this study to identify men and women of different ages and with different living arrangements to reach as heterogeneous a sample as possible (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). All participants in the quantitative study were invited to participate in the subsequent qualitative study and provide simple additional demographic information, such as living arrangement and receipt of community services. (White, Magin & Pollack, 2009). This data collection type is very useful when participants cannot be directly observed.
During the process of research, the researcher will collect qualitative documents. These are public documents (e.g., newspapers, official reports) or private documents (e.g., letters, e-mails) argued that the processes of data collection and analysis are correlated to one another. Researchers can neither collect data without keeping in mind their epistemological purpose nor can they use particular analysis without their appropriateness to produce the type of knowledge desired" (Greckhamer and Koro-Ljungberg, 2005, p. 731).
Data Analysis and Interpretation
"Guidelines for analyzing qualitative data can be found in abundance, and studying examples of qualitative analysis can be especially helpful. However guidelines, procedural suggestions, and exemplars are not rules" (Patton, 2002, p. 433). Applying guidelines need to have the innovation mindset. Each qualitative study has its own unique. Therefore each study will apply its unique analytical approach. The qualitative research will be affected by the knowledge, view-point, and experience of the analyst. Accordingly, "the human factor is the great strength and the fundamental weakness of qualitative inquiry and analysis-a scientific two-edged sword" (Patton, 2002).
The proposed research will work with 30 participants who are graduated learners from American graduate programs in business administration, information technology that teaching in Vietnam. It will be a condition of the research that all participants come from American accredited universities. Interviews and focus groups will be conducted. Some learners cannot attend at the times allocated for the focus groups and will be therefore interviewed individually. Given the small sample size, the researcher will keen to involve any interested learners in this study. In interviews and focus groups, students will be asked the same set of questions about their understanding of feedback, the actual feedback that they received, how they used this feedback and what gaps there were within the provision of feedback. The reason for doing this is to help creating validity.
The researcher will conduct the following steps of the data analysis procedures.
Step 1. "Organize and prepare the data for analysis. This involves transcribing interviews, optically scanning material, typing up field notes, sorting, and arranging the data into different types depending on the sources of information" (Creswell, 2009, p. 185). The qualitative information will be aggregated through interviews. With the development of computer, the focus group's members communicate to one another by utilizing the special software. This focus group does no need to have a moderator as the traditional way (Sinkovics, Penz & Ghauri, 2008).
Step 2. Review all the information. A first activity is to withdraw an overall meaning of the data. At this step, the notes will be written in allowance about the information (Creswell, 2009). The general notes should be withdrawn to describe and comment about collected data. Mouza (2008) stated "data from classroom observations and teacher interviews were first transcribed" (p. 454).
Step 3. The coding process will be used to start the analysis. "Coding is the process of organizing the material into chunks or segment of text before bring meaning to information" (Rossman & Rallis, 1998, p. 171). Information or pictures will be gathered during data collection, segmenting sentences, and classifying these items. Data with the similar meaning will be assembled into groups. These meaning groups will be represented by codes. The analyst will use the codes to compare to specify the final meaning group that getting the high consensus (Hernandez, Seigel & Amelda, 2009).
Step 4. Apply the cipher procedure to analyze the collected information about research participants (Creswell, 2009). The cipher will be made for this designation. After that, the cipher will be used to create five items for this research. These items represent for main determinations in qualitative researches.
Step 5. "Advance how the description and themes will be represented in the qualitative narrative" (Creswell, 2009, p. 189). A communicatory section will be utilized to transmit the determinations of the exploration. This argument will be applied to focus on a classification of phenomenon. Tams (2008) stated "Codes were merged into overlapping concepts and grouped under higher-level categories. As a result of this iterative process of comparing data and concepts, concepts that referred to only one or a few episodes were discarded (p. 170).
Step 6. This last stage in information analysis is relevant to data explanation. The conclusions will be withdrawn in this step. These conclusions could be applied to the research from the researcher's knowledge and experiences.
Some background information about Vietnam has been introduced, and though analyzed current Vietnamese education system, the huge market for higher education has been revealed. This research has used the qualitative methodology to examine the Vietnamese learners' high demand on learning at higher education. The aforementioned information has distinguished the methodology and design for the researcher's dissertation research topic based on the research problem, purpose, and questions that the researcher developed in the previous courses.
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