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Learning Diversity

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  • 1. Learning Diversity in Online Education The survey findings of two researchers in online education
  • 2. Types of Learners
    • Independent Learner: has developed an interpretive approach to learning
    • Dependent Learner: has not yet discovered interpretive methods
  • 3. Student Control of Learning According to a survey done by Yanyan Yong, Ph.D., and Anne Parrella, Ph.D., of students enrolled in a freshman-level western civilization course at a community college, 30 percent described an education that placed the student in control of his own learning as “the library,” “one-sided,” “chaotic,” and “horrible.” The inference is that at least some students need a structured atmosphere and clear instructor guidance.
  • 4. Student Awareness
    • “ Students expressed strong awareness of the existence of learning diversity and even suggested that learning is an individualized activity.”
    • - Yong and Parrella
  • 5. Other Survey Results
    • 50 percent indicated listening to the instructor as their learning preference.
    • Only 6 percent selected reading online as their preference.
    • 62 percent indicated a preference for live presence or personality of instructor.
    • 72 percent expected that the instructor play an authoritative role.
  • 6. Interpreting This Data
    • The absence of the physical presence of an instructor may be a jarring experience for students new to online instruction.
    • Students seem to prefer the social dimension to be integrated into learning as much as possible.
    • Discussion boards are a very useful tool for improving social interaction among students and teacher.
  • 7. What Students Want
    • 49 percent wanted lecture notes and instructor outlines in an online course.
    • 62 percent wanted descriptive course objectives.
    • 46 wanted materials presented as questions/historical problems.
    • 33 percent wanted the material presented as facts and explanations.
    • Only 20 percent wanted both of the above.
  • 8. Guidance Needs Expressed by Students
    • Feedback
    • Clear communication
    • Linear directions
    • Study guides
    • Review for exams
  • 9. Reading Materials
    • 33 percent of students indicated a need for repetition of concepts to be learned from their readings.
    • 21 percent said the course outline was enough.
    • 15 percent relied on question objectives.
  • 10. Instructor Visibility
    • 64 percent wanted the instructor to be visible to them.
    • 36 percent wanted weekly contact with the instructor.
    • 31 percent wanted instructor contact as needed.
    • 4 percent wanted the instructor to decide on the amount and frequency of contact.
  • 11. Strongest Student Preferences
    • Direction and guidance
    • Frequent contact
    • Learning frameworks
    • Reading repetition
    • Learning materials presented for a discovery activity

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