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This paper reports on a five week pre-induction socialisation MOOC designed to facilitate successful transition into Higher Education for flexible learners. In this context a broad definition is adopted of flexible learners, which includes adult learners engaged in part-time and/or online/distance education. Enhancing retention and completion rates of this group of flexible learners has become a significant problem throughout the world, especially with the growth of new models of online learning. Although the number of flexible learners in Ireland is relatively low in comparison to many other countries, around 17% of all undergraduates.
The MOOC targets prospective flexible learners during early parts of the study life-cycle, when they are considering entry into Higher Education, or have just made that decision and may benefit from advice about how to effectively prepare. The MOOC utilises a number of the digital readiness tools developed by the Student Success Toolbox project (studentsucess.ie) and combines these tools with supporting materials in order to deliver a comprehensive pre-induction socialisation course. The key areas of focus in the MOOC are to:
• Present information that aids in the creation of a realistic set of expectations about flexible learning in Higher Education, especially around the importance of time-management
• Facilitate prospective flexible learners in reflecting on their readiness for study in Higher Education
• Reduce anxiety by presenting reassuring messages
• Offer opportunities for socialisation with other prospective flexible learners
• Equip these prospective learners with advice and tools on how to effectively prepare for the educational journey ahead.