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What makes a successful online learner?

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Online learners webinar, by Sarah Knight, Heather Price, Helen Beetham and Lou McGill

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What makes a successful online learner?

  1. 1. What makes a successful online learner?12/01/2017 Sarah Knight, Heather Price, Helen Beetham, Lou McGill
  2. 2. Quick poll Which most closely describes your role in online learning? A. Teaching B. Course design/development C. Supporting/developing people D. Supporting/developing systems E. Management/leadership Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 2
  3. 3. Quick poll Which most closely describes your aims for this webinar? A. Develop myself professionally B. Develop my dept/organisation C. Learn more about the research/evidence D. Get ideas for improving a course/courses E. Other Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 3
  4. 4. Background
  5. 5. Background »Digital Student: series of projects to investigate students' expectations and experiences of the digital environment »Scaling Up Online Learning: guidance and resources for institutions looking to make online learning scalable and sustainable »Online learners scoping study: background review and recommendations for the online learners investigation Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 5 What makes a successful online learner - report
  6. 6. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar Our assumptions: » Most learners will experience some online component to their learning: as they move into lifelong learning/professional development, this component will probably become more significant. » Online learners are not a distinct group of learners: they are any and all learners in situations where online resources, networks and interactions are significant to their learning. » For some learners, in some situations, ‘online’ is the strongly preferred or only available space of learning. » For most learners, ‘online’ is an adjunct space of learning which intersects with offline learning at many points. What do we mean by ‘online learning’? Image attributed to Flickr user: wocintech stock - 127 6
  7. 7. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar What do we mean by ‘online learning’? Image attributed to Flickr user: wocintech stock - 127 = online courses +/or online elements of blended courses +/or informal learning online = learning in online spaces +/or with online materials +/or through online communications +/or with online pedagogies 7
  8. 8. » Literature review and analysis (260+ studies) ›Zotero online library ›Bibliography » Validation of findings with: ›Expert advisory group ›Online learners #OLsuccess forum #OLSuccess report ›Practitioners (3 live, 2 online events) » Reporting and dissemination What we did Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 8
  9. 9. Our focus: what makes for a successful online learner? Key questions » What are successful online learners like? » What do successful online learners do? » How do successful online learners feel about learning online? » What differences among online learners are significant to their success? » How can providers and teachers/facilitators support online learners’ success? Underpinning issue: who defines success, who measures it? Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 9
  10. 10. Key findings
  11. 11. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar »Online learners are highly diverse: more differences than similarities »Contexts and motivations for online learning vary across life stages »Relationship of motivation to success: learners see them thru same lens »Emotional responses significant to success: curiosity, confidence, independence, connection; vs boredom, frustration, loneliness »'Readiness to learn online' a consistently used but contested metric: providers devising one-off instruments with little evidence base »Research ‘tribes’ with different issues, discourses, methods e.g. big data vs rich narratives Key points 11
  12. 12. Successful online learners are… » Experienced, already successful learners (especially online!) » Motivated, resilient and persistent » Autonomous, self-efficacious, self-regulating » Curious and inquiring » Well-prepared and well-organised - with digital tech! » Digitally capable (diminishing effect? Necessary but not sufficient) » Divergent in their learning preferences and needs: belonging vs independence, open vs closed, self-directed vs scaffolded Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 12
  13. 13. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar Finding: How do you prefer to use online resources? Slightly more of our participants preferred to use recommended resources than to find resources online for themselves: the preference would almost certainly have been stronger with a less confident and experienced group of learners. 13
  14. 14. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar Finding: How do you like to use your social media? Our participants were fairly evenly split between using their social media informally for learning, using it as a core/essential element of their learning, and keeping it quite separate from their learning, with informal use marginally the more popular. 14
  15. 15. Successful online learners do… » Engage in learning that’s right for them and focus on their own aspirations (choice, motive: signposting, advice) » Set goals, make and monitor plans » View, actively curate, collate and review a wide range of course- related content » Pro-actively: find information, seek help, initiate communication » Manage time and attention » Integrate personal with course technologies and media » Make online setting work for them: belonging vs independence, open vs closed, self-directed vs scaffolded Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 15
  16. 16. (Online) learning success Context (e.g. course) Person Experiences (activities/ feedback) Beliefs (confidence, self-efficacy) Repertoire (practices, habits) Motives (objective, desire, identity) gender age language/culture social/econ capital access other demands environment resources activities rewards roles interactions Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 16
  17. 17. For example Context (e.g. course) Person Experiences (activities/ feedback) Beliefs (confidence, self-efficacy) Repertoire (practices, habits) Motives (objective, desire, identity) 2. The course requires you to share links and resources using twitter 3. You comply: have positive feedback from others and some public RTs 4. You are more likely to tweet again, believing you will have a +ve response 1. You are keen to meet course requirements (be a good student) Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 17
  18. 18. Successful online learners feel… » enjoyment - even when learning is challenging (fun, motive, curious, self-development) » in control of their learning and their outcomes » belonging and care - even in situations of low social/emotional presence (implied from research) » complex emotions about working with others » anxiety and frustration e.g. with technology – but have strategies for coping Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 18
  19. 19. #OLsuccess Week There are some things that I think are vital; it’s the taking note of the advantages that online gives, (e.g. ability to have asynchronous activities as well as synchronous ones)... But, ultimately, we’re all different. What suits me, today, mayn’t suit you tomorrow. What helps me in learning online is the ability to set my own projects and goals, to have access to a wide range of resources and a group of peers to support me. What doesn’t help me is a course structure or timed-delimited focus If you do find it difficult to have a voice – start small and work up to more as your confidence grows Mainly I like it because I don’t feel pressured to be with other people, which I struggle with due to my autism. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 19
  20. 20. #OLsuccess Week Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 20
  21. 21. Significant differences » Self-efficacy, self-regulation etc. (disposition or repertoire?) » Educational background, experience and capital: previous success » Other demands on time, especially for older adult learners » Access needs and challenges + Linguistic needs and challenges » Mode of participation » (to some extent) subject and level of study » (to a diminishing extent) ICT confidence and capability » (In a few studies) age, gender, cultural background, ethnicity, employment status, socio-economic status Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 21
  22. 22. Quick question Any questions? • Please write any comments or questions in the chat window… Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 22
  23. 23. Key recommendations
  24. 24. Recommendations from previous Digital Student Studies HE Digital Student Study recommendations Final report of the FE Digital Study Digital Student Skills Sector Final Project Report Recommendations Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 24
  25. 25. » Choose and purposely redesign the course or activity for online learning » Enable and support staff to develop their digital capabilities for online LTA » Reward staff for teaching innovation and establish champions of online learning to cascade approaches out » Develop a flexible, robust online learning environment, addressing barriers to access » Enable and support learners to take advantage of the opportunities that online learning offers » Create safe online spaces for learners to develop trust, establish learning communities and develop a sense of belonging to the institution Recommendations for organisations Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 25
  26. 26. » Use the Scaling up Online Learning guides and checklists to assess strengths and weaknesses » Encourage staff to use the Jisc online learning readiness tool either individually, in teams or as part of their CPD Recommendations for organisations Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 26
  27. 27. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar Recommendations for online teachers » Teach responsively, with consideration to learners’ different: motivations, interests, learning histories and resources » Prepare online learners to study online: norms, practices, expectations, good study habits, functional access » Enable learners to use their own devices, services and skills » Support access to rich and diverse learning content » Provide a digital environment that is accessible, social and personalisable: open (for some learners); secure (for others) » Address the barriers to success we have identified for specific groups of learners 27
  28. 28. Recommendations for online learners » Focus on your reasons for learning and review your progress and goals regularly » Consider whether online learning is right for you. » Before you sign up, make sure that you have a thorough understanding of what will be expected of you at all stages of the course. » Consider if you need a support network. » If you have specific needs, ask in advance how the course provider can help to support your learning. » Make sure that you have access to the appropriate technologies that you will need. Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamuc/14305644882/in/photostream/ Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 28
  29. 29. Recommendations for online learners » Think about your learning ‘space/s’. » Make a timetable and plan your tasks. Be realistic about what you can complete. » Try to be a ‘reflective learner’. At different stages of the course consider if your approaches are working for you. » Be prepared to seek help if you need it from tutors, other learners, or your own support network. » Consider using any mechanisms provided to create a social presence, such as a place to make a personal profile. » Take advantage of any means to provide feedback to your course provider. Photo Credit: Adam Pantozzi/Times Alliance https://www.flickr.com/photos/yodelanecdotal/4092671749 Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 29
  30. 30. Quick question Which recommendation is most relevant and actionable for your organisation? • Please write any comments in the chat window… Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 30
  31. 31. Moving forward
  32. 32. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar »Online version of the Digital Student Experience Tracker, specifically for online learners/courses/providers »Adapted questions drew on findings of Online Learners study » 27 institutions signed up: 10 FE/skills, 17 HE: data ready for analysis in April » What next? Digital student Image source: flickr.com/photos/yodelanecdotal/4092671749 32 New 'Learners Stories' project collecting personal accounts from successful digital learners
  33. 33. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar » Scaling up online learning » Curriculum design and support » Technology and tools for online learning » Checklists (word document) Scaling up online learning A series of guides and checklists to help staff understand the decisions that need to be made and the processes involved in scaling up online learning at an organisational level: 33
  34. 34. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar For individual staff, teams or as part of CPD Online learning readiness tool We welcome your feedback! Scaling up online learning 34
  35. 35. Quick poll Which of the following should Jisc prioritise now? A. Qualitative research with online learners B. Quantitative research based on data from the Online Learners Tracker C. Develop further guidance resources D. Build a network for peer learning across institutions E. Institutional consultancy offer Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar 35
  36. 36. Jan 2017 What makes a successful online learner webinar Twitter: #OLSuccess Forum: http://olsuccess.loumcgill.co.uk/ What next? Join the conversation online 36

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