Positive E-Learning Experiences
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Positive E-Learning Experiences

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Some of the most effective educational strategies to provide positive online learning experiences include social interactions, technical support, feedback, and motivation.

Some of the most effective educational strategies to provide positive online learning experiences include social interactions, technical support, feedback, and motivation.

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Positive E-Learning Experiences Document Transcript

  • 1. AzimzadehREL7001-4 1 E-Learning Experiences The purpose of this paper is to explore the key elements that make electroniclearning (E-Learning) a positive learning experience for the learner and evaluate my ownE-Learning experiences. In order to provide quality online learning experiences and equalopportunities for all learners, it is essential to consider different learners’ needs andprovide applicable support accordingly. Although many factors such as coursealignment, content, assessment, and providing examples may affect learners’ learning andperformance in an online learning environment, research shows that some of the mosteffective strategies to provide positive online learning experiences include socialinteractions, technical support, feedback, and motivation (Bonnel & Boehm, 2011;Griffin, et. al., 2012; Hill, Song, & West, 2009; Kim, Shim, & Ahn, 2011; Moore, 2011).The following sections will include discussions related to the aforementioned elements.Social Interactions Literature located for this paper indicated that based on the constructivist learningtheory, cooperative learning activities foster learners’ engagement and help maximizelearning effectiveness (Moore, 2011). Regarding web-based learning, the coursestructure should strategically be designed in order to involve learners in collaborativeonline discussions and learning activities so that learners who are more informed can helpother learners. For instance, in one of my graduate courses, we had some synchronouschat sessions with our instructor’s presence, and we would discuss the topics covered inthe course on blackboard. The online discussions were very helpful because everyonecontributed some useful information, our instructor guided us to the right path, and we alllearned the course content very well. Moore (2011) pointed out that constructive learning
  • 2. AzimzadehREL7001-4 2theory appears to pervade the E-Learning while “transforming education from theteacher-centered traditional classroom to the learner–centered online classroom” (p. 22).Furthermore, research shows that socially constructing knowledge and sharingexperiences are effective ways to improve learning (Hill, Song, & West, 2009). Virtualcommunications allow the 21st century learners to collaborate, model, teach each other,and learn in different ways harmonious to their learning styles. Reviewing the abovementioned educational philosophies, social interaction is one of the key elements toprovide effective and successful learning experiences.Technical Support Another key element for improving E-Learning experiences is to provideelectronically supported learning tools for all learners. For instance, students withvarious levels of technological skills can benefit from resources such as videos, tutorials,and live support with technical issues. In my current E-Learning course, my mentor hascreated a wiki that contains all kinds of resources such as application demos, usefularticles, and many other resources that we can access and learn. In addition, anytime wehave questions, we can schedule a Skype meeting with our mentor to receive help. Thisis one of the best E-Learning practices I have ever experienced, and I will definitelyconsider using such method in my own instructional activities in the future. Anothertime, I took a self-paced E-Learning course to learn how to use a MicroStation programfor design and drafting. Fortunately, we had access to technical support world-wide, andI used this opportunity to receive technical support when I needed. It was a great onlinelearning experience, and I still remember what I have learned from the individuals whowalked me through and taught me how to perform certain tasks online and from different
  • 3. AzimzadehREL7001-4 3parts of the world such as India and Australia. With a few simple steps, educationalinstitutions and instructors can provide great e-learning experiences.Feedback One of the most important educational strategies is feedback, which may bereceived from the students or instructors. Student’s input helps improve the quality of thecourse and instructions, and instructor’s positive and prompt feedback helps to motivatestudents while providing the tools for self-assessment. Although providing feedbackonline might be challenging and time-consuming for some instructors, technologicaladvancements bring new opportunities for informing students what is expected fromthem and how to achieve a practical outcome. Bonnel and Bohm (2011) conducted astudy while exploring the faculty approaches to support online feedback, and theirresearch indicated that besides using e-mails and non-synchronous discussions, “onlineoffice hours, live chats, voice-over PowerPoint presentations, announcement functions,synchronous presentations such as Wimba or Elluminate, course management surveyfunctions, tracking changes, messaging, and concept mapping tools” would be greatoptions for providing feedback and communicating with students online while helpingthem succeed (p. 2).Motivation From a social learning viewpoint, different types of motivation affect onlinelearner’s learning and performance (Hill, Song, & West, 2009). Extrinsic motivationrelates to externally rewarded behaviors expected from learners while intrinsic motivationpertains to learners’ interest and desire for learning (Kim, Shin, & Ahn, 2011). Forinstance, extrinsic rewards may include good grades, trophies, or fun games while
  • 4. AzimzadehREL7001-4 4intrinsic rewards include internal pleasant feeling such as being proud to succeed in aclass or to complete a project. Intrinsic motivation is more effective than tangiblerewards; however, there are conditions that require positive reinforcements. In suchcases, external rewards should appropriately be used until the desired outcome isachieved, and then the rewards should gradually be reduced to avoid dependency onexternal rewards. Griffin, et. el., (2012) conducted a study to examine the correlationbetween motivation and students’ academic performance, and they found out that “thegreater the student’s motivation, the better they perform in academic pursuits” (p. 8). Conclusion There are a number of educational strategies that instructors should utilize inorder to provide meaningful and quality E-Learning experiences for students. First, E-Learning instructors should maintain students’ involvement in socially and cooperativelyconstructing knowledge by designing course activities that foster online socialization.Second, all students should have access to technical support any time needed so thatstudents can use any form of E-Learning models to learn and be successful. Third,besides students’ feedback that should continually be used to evaluate the E-Learningprogram, instructors timely feedback is one of the most important components of asuccessful education for students while guiding them to self-evaluation and reflection(Moore, 2011). Fourth, motivating students helps them and encourages them to performwell academically. The following video contains a collection of e-Learning bestpractices for interaction: http://youtu.be/yUZGinKMdxQ
  • 5. AzimzadehREL7001-4 5 ReferencesBonnel, W., & Boehm, H. (2011). Improving feedback to students online: Teaching tips from experienced faculty. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 42(11), 503-9. doi: 10.3928/00220124-20110715-02Griffin, R., MacKewn, A., Moser, E., & VanVuren, K. W. (2012). A study of aspects of learning skills and motivation: Correlates to superior academic performance. Global Conference On Business & Finance Proceedings, 7(2), 310-319.Hill, J. R., Song, L., & West, R. E. (2009). Social Learning Theory and Web-Based Learning Environments: A review of research and discussion of implications. American Journal Of Distance Education, 23(2), 88-103. doi:10.1080/08923640902857713Kim, J. Y., Shim, J. P., & Ahn, K. M. (2011). Social networking service: Motivation, pleasure, and behavioral intention to use. The Journal of Computer Information Systems, 51(4), 92-101. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/884811178?accountid=28180Moore, D. (2011). Using collaborative online discussion effectively for teaching. Journal of Applied Learning Technology, 1(4), 19-23.Winegar, M. (2012, January 18). Best e-Learning practices 4 interaction [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUZGinKMdxQ