What do you like about being an online learner?

  • 28th June 2016 at 7:04 pm #260
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    What do you like about being an online learner?

  • 29th June 2016 at 2:06 pm #266
    Kamila

    There are probably 1001 topics I want to learn about but realistically, just finding out what might be the best for your career / most interesting for you would take a lot of time. On-line courses offer great range of courses allowing you to update your skills or get the skills for a different career.

    I spent over 10 years working in administration within the education sector, falling into the trap of using the same system, the same forms, …you name it. When I decided to change my career, I was not entirely sure which way to go.
    However, having taken a couple of on-line taster courses, I found out what interests me and what I could possibly do for years to come. The ability to study when I have time, fit the on-line courses into my busy schedule (work, family, voluntary work…) is probably the greatest advantage.

    Anyone with a similar experience?

    • 29th June 2016 at 2:57 pm #267
      tim
      Participant

      Hi Kamila

      I agree about taster courses. They can really give you a flavour of a subject and also help you work out your own skill level in relation to other people. But yes it can be hard deciding which ones to do. There is so much choice. I wanted to learn a language but found it really difficult to work out which course to do.

      • 30th June 2016 at 2:02 pm #284
        helenbeetham
        Keymaster

        Great points Tim and Kamila. One thing we have already found is that online learners want guidance to make sure they choose the right courses and opportunities to start with. Would you agree?

      • 1st July 2016 at 10:10 am #296
        Kamila

        Hi Helen,

        I agree with you that on-line learners need good guidance to enable them to select suitable courses and make the most of their time, even though on-line courses are often very convenient and do not seem time consuming. It is easier at school when you follow curriculum and have set exam dates so that you know what to concentrate on, what to prepare for and at what speed you should progress at.
        A good course description, course / curriculum map connecting the course to possible other courses and clearly spelling out the skills the learners should gain upon completion of the course should help. Indicating a level, for example if a course is suitable for Beginners in a given discipline or Advanced level learners, what are the per-requisites one needs in order to enroll and succeed on the course, also help to point on-line learners in right direction.
        As Alan says – we often know about our knowledge gaps which leads our search for the courses but it may not be the case for younger learners, school leavers who are in limbo wondering what to do once they completed (or perhaps have not completed) their formal education.
        This is such an exciting area with so many opportunities!!!

  • 30th June 2016 at 9:55 am #270
    alanepaull
    Participant

    I’ve been an online learner, both formal and informal, pretty much since it was possible. Nowadays I find that convenience is the most obvious benefit. With the vast amount of online courses and other resources out there in internet-land, I can pick out what I want fairly readily. I choose stuff that I can do at my own pace, mainly to fill in perceived gaps in knowledge or understanding. Occasionally I’ll find interesting material through serendipity.

    I don’t label myself “online learner”. I’m a learner (always!), who happens to make use of online resources as a principal source of materials. I’m just as happy with books, off-line digital media, with face-to-face, and so on. It just happens that online is now very convenient.

    Importantly I think, online learning is not special – it’s learning that happens to use online resources.

    • 30th June 2016 at 10:35 am #272
      Lou McGill
      Keymaster

      What a great post Alan. I am one of the people working on this study and this is what we have written in our scoping document. It chimes so well with what you have just said. Thanks for this brilliant comment. Can we quote you in our final report? We can anonymise if preferred.

      “It is our assumption that most learners in post-compulsory settings will experience some online component to their learning, formal or informal, and that as they move into lifelong learning/professional development this component will form a larger proportion of study time. Online learners are not, then, a distinct group of learners: they are post-compulsory learners in particular situations and/or with particular preferences and needs.”

  • 30th June 2016 at 10:43 am #273
    alanepaull
    Participant

    Thanks, Lou. Always happy to be quoted!
    Alan

  • 30th June 2016 at 11:16 am #277
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster
  • 4th July 2016 at 7:06 am #334
    David Hiddleston

    Being on liner learner represents a great opportunity for learning.
    Opportunities:
    – learn at your own pace.
    – collaborate with others
    – personalised learning
    – independence
    – enhances traditional learning.

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:15 am #336
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    Thanks David great points

    Have you had a go on the poll in the sidebar to the right?

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:27 am #337
    hector
    Participant

    Mainly I like it because I don’t feel pressured to be with other people, which I struggle with due to my autism. Being in an environment with noise and distractions makes learning difficult whereas learning at home I can create the best atmosphere for me.

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:38 am #338
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    What makes your online learning enjoyable?

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:40 am #339
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    Do you prefer to work alone online, or with other learners?

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:41 am #341
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    Do you like to learn online with a clear structure, or do you like to explore?

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:42 am #342
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    What kinds of online resources do you really like to learn with?

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:42 am #343
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    Why have you chosen to work online (if this has been a choice)?

  • 4th July 2016 at 10:45 am #344
    cbthomson
    Participant

    When I was doing my masters at Sheffield Hallam, I started the course as a face to face participant but moved jobs and cities halfway through. As there was the option to join tutorials through Adobe Connect and work collaboratively with peers through Skype and the course wiki it meant that I could continue the course despite the change in circumstances. Commuting to seminars and tutorials would have been too costly and time consuming and I would have dropped out.

  • 4th July 2016 at 12:48 pm #348
    helenbeetham
    Keymaster

    I think that’s the reason many of us choose to learn online – we maybe couldn’t afford the time, money, travel, energy etc to do it offline, or perhaps that option just isn’t available. I wonder if there was any trade-off for you, and how you felt about that? And if this would have worked out as well if you hadn’t already made good connections?

  • 4th July 2016 at 1:30 pm #349
    David White

    Mainly the opportunity to connect with people beyond my day-to-day geography. Also the feeling that the learning is taking place where all the resources and conversations are, i.e. online.

  • 4th July 2016 at 1:49 pm #350
    helenbeetham
    Keymaster

    If I’m honest a lot of my online learning is very bitty and ‘of the moment’. I don’t just mean finding out information – though I do that a lot – but finding out ‘how to do’ something, from using a new online service to fixing a new seat to my canoe. Is that online learning? It feels like it it. What do others think?

  • 4th July 2016 at 3:39 pm #353
    hector
    Participant

    I prefer to work alone online and offline, but it is easier to have conversations online than face to face because I don’t have to make eye contact and I can take as much time as I need to answer people.

  • 4th July 2016 at 5:03 pm #359
    Jim Atkinson

    What do I like about being an online learner?

    Having easy to use and access ‘performance support materials’ on any topic that provides me with relevant content just when I need it. For example relevant articles, top hints or how to guides etc.

    For example, I’ve created my own repository of content on Evernote, which is fully tagged, categorised, editable (inc. formatable), and importantly sharable with others should I need to.

    These can be accessed on any device and is instantly useable. Great!

  • 4th July 2016 at 9:33 pm #361
    tim
    Participant

    What I think is important is to realise that online learners don’t just experience things in the same way, as someone who is dyslexic I find it a very difficult exercise. A site that isn’t dyslexic friendly makes it almost impossible for me to continue with that course. Too much information just on the first page can be challenging and this is an area that I sense hasn’t actually been investigated enough. It is important to consider the learning space online as it is for the physical world and classroom.

  • 5th July 2016 at 8:36 am #362
    Kamila

    Hi Tim,
    you made a very interesting point. Would it help if a voice read the text to you? I wonder if this makes it easier for you. Do graphs and flowcharts help you to understand better?

  • 5th July 2016 at 12:17 pm #365
    Tim Gray

    It’s a difficult one, I am very dyslexic but I don’t see text jumping or moving on the page. I do struggle with huge amounts of text information on a page and when I follow a tutorial online for example a voice talking or discussion the item is really engaging for me.

    As for graphics again it depends on how well they have been constructed, do they include text, what colours are used etc. I actually engage with moving images much more successfully that with text and a voice over which probably explains why I teach animation.

    But I think what is important is to remember not all people with dyslexia have the same issues when faced with text based information. I would argue an online learner requires the same amount of student centred approaches as a student sitting in the real world.

  • 7th July 2016 at 10:21 am #379
    SarahKnight
    Moderator

    I have had a recent opportunity to complete a Jisc SEDA course online around student staff partnerships. This course complimented my work and offered an insight into current practice as it offered an opportunity of hearing from others on the course. I was able to fit this learning in around my job and also around my family life. This often meant working late at night on the online activities but this enabled me to complete the course and meet the tight deadlines. Having the flexibility that online learning offers was something I really appreciated.

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