What makes you successful when learning online?

  • 28th June 2016 at 7:03 pm #258
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    What makes you successful when learning online?

    We would like to explore things like the following:
    What devices do you use to engage in online learning and why?
    What qualities would you say a successful online learner needs?
    Have you become better at online learning? How?
    Is there anything about you that helps you to be a good online learner? Do these things apply equally in face to face settings?
    When do you engage in online learning? Where are you, typically?
    What devices do you use (computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone)? Why?
    What software, apps, social media or online learning environment(s) do you use? Have you chosen them for yourself? Why do you use these in particular?
    What does a typical week of study look like for you?
    What study habits do you think have been most successful for you? Are these different from the study habits you would use in face to face learning?
    What helps you to maintain your engagement? What kind of activities, assignments & social features?

  • 4th July 2016 at 11:45 am #346
    Clare Thomson

    This really depends on the definition of ‘successful’. If I have joined a MOOC and learn from it but due to time pressures don’t finish the course I don’t consider that a failure. However, with regards my MSc online if I don’t pass the course I will consider that a failure as I wouldn’t have achieved a formal qualification and lost money. Yet, the learning is still judged on the learning not whether it is online or offline.

    Flipping this if I passed an online course with the absolute minimum level of engagement with fellow students and teachers then I personally would consider this to be unsuccessful as an overall experience. This is because I value the ‘hidden curriculum’ learning (discussions, shared learning, new technology skills etc) as much as the assessed elements but this may not be the case for everyone.

  • 4th July 2016 at 12:05 pm #347
    Lou McGill
    Keymaster

    Yes I totally agree with what you are saying. I think motivation is absolutely linked to how we measure our success as learners. I think that researchers looking at MOOCS are now realising that “dropout” is not always a negative response. I have spoken to lots of MOOc learners in detailed phone interviews and they often reported that they value the courses and learn even if they decide to skip some activities or finish earlier than planned.

    I think your comment highlights how important it is for learners to know what they want to learn and how they learn. So this shows a level of sophistication that not all learners will have – especially when they first start independent learning. I hope we get to hear from students who are experiencing online learning but not necessarily through choice…

  • 4th July 2016 at 9:00 pm #360
    helenbeetham
    Keymaster

    It’s interesting how much weight the research gives to motivation. But motivation isn’t something you can easily measure. As you say, Clare, there are different reasons for engaging with online learning. The reward you are hoping for will decide whether at the end of the day you feel you have been successful. It’s very early days to be looking at the survey results but at the moment the motives people give for learning online seem to be quite evenly spread around the different options. I wonder what we will find out in the next couple of days when we focus more on this issue?

    • 6th July 2016 at 1:18 pm #377
      Lou McGill
      Keymaster

      I have carried out several in depth interviews with MOOC students (over several different studies including professional and non-professional learners) and it was interesting to ask them what their goals were at the beginning and how these changed.

      Many people I spoke to found it quite difficult to articulate their goals without prompting. The questions helped them to reflect on their main goals and did reveal a wide range of motivations and intentions.

      To some extent the ease of signing up for a “free” online course may mean that some learners join with unclear goals – which may impact on their commitment to finish. I wonder what others think about this. (NB Personally I don’t think it matters if people finish/complete a MOOC if they learn what they wanted to)

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