Using Online Learner Readiness to Enhance Student Satisfaction and Retention


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Presentation Given at the 2009 Sloan C Conference in Orlando, Florida

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Using Online Learner Readiness to Enhance Student Satisfaction and Retention

  1. 1. Using Learner Readiness To Improve Online Student Retention Dr. Mac Adkins
  2. 2. Agenda • Reflections on learner readiness • 2009 Online Student Readiness Report – Dr. Mac Adkins
  3. 3. Facts About Distance Learning • Distance learning enrollments continue to grow. • Current economic conditions are prompting many adult learners to consider distance learning. • Some persons are more ready for distance learning than others.
  4. 4. It Is A New Way To Learn • Most of us learned how to learn in a typical classroom.
  5. 5. More facts • Some students are more ready for elearning than others. • eLearning is a better fit for some students than others.
  6. 6. Your choices …
  7. 7. Wouldn’t Your School Like To … • Know which students are a good fit for distance learning. • Know which students are at risk of not doing well learning at a distance. • Have a dialogue with students about learning online. • Provide resource to help online students succeed.
  8. 8. READI – Readiness for Education At a Distance Indicator • Online tool that measures a student’s level of readiness for studying online • Used by over 330 Colleges and Universities • Taken about a half million students
  9. 9. What Does READI Measure? • Individual Attributes – Motivation, Procrastination, Willingness to Ask for Help, etc. • Learning Styles – Based on the Multiple Intelligences model • Technical Skills & Competency • On-Screen Reading Rate & Recall • Typing Speed & Accuracy
  10. 10. Versions of READI • Widely used at the college level. • New version which is developmentally appropriate for secondary school students was just released. • Spanish version is being developed. • Malay version is being developed for the Open University in Malaysia.
  11. 11. 2009 National Student Readiness Report • National data on online student readiness
  12. 12. Participants • 150,065 unique students who took the READI assessment from June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009 • 272 Educational Institutions • 42 States
  13. 13. Demographic Profile • 65% were female • 61% were Caucasian/white • 65% had never taken an online course before • 32% were traditional aged college students • 67% were students at an associates level institution
  14. 14. Demographic Profile • 28% had “social” as their dominant learning style • 42% scored within the 80% – 89% range on the personal attributes scale • 27% recalled 90% or more of the reading passage
  15. 15. Demographic Profile • 27% demonstrated between 90% – 100% accuracy on the typing skills test and typed an average of 28.02 words per minute • 32% exhibited between 70% – 79% of mastery of technical knowledge • 58% scored 100% on the technical competency skills tests
  16. 16. Gender • Females were found to have statistically significant higher means on the constructs of learning styles, individual attributes, typing speed, typing accuracy and reading recall. • Males were found to have statistically significant higher means on the constructs of technical competency and technical knowledge.
  17. 17. Ethnicity • Caucasian/White reported the highest means for learning styles, technical competency, and reading recall. • African American reported the highest mean for personal attributes. • Asian or Pacific Islander reported the highest means for technical knowledge, typing speed and typing accuracy.
  18. 18. Age Range • Generally speaking, the results indicated that age does matter. For constructs related to personal maturity, older students had the highest means. • For constructs related to technical matters, younger students had the highest means.
  19. 19. Age Range - Constructs Age Range Highest Mean 13-17 Typing Accuracy 18-22 Typing Speed 23-27 Learning Styles 28-32 Technical Competency Technical Knowledge 33-37 38-42 43-47 48-52 53-59 Personal Attributes Reading Recall 60+
  20. 20. Age Range - AttributesAge Range Highest Mean 13-17 18-22 23-27 28-32 33-37 38-42 Help Seeking 43-47 48-52 Time Management 53-59 Procrastination Persistence Academic Attributes 60+ Locus of Control
  21. 21. Number of Prior Online Courses • The results strongly demonstrated that with online learning, experience matters. In all seven constructs measured persons who reported having taken five or more prior online courses reported the highest mean. • The greatest difference in means from students with no prior online course experience and those who had taken five or more courses was in the area of technical knowledge. This indicates that with experience students can learn to use the technology required for online courses.
  22. 22. Institution Type • Significant differences did exist between the institution types with Doctorate Granting Universities reporting the highest means for learning styles, technical competency, technical knowledge, and typing speed. • Special Focus Institutions (schools preparing students for specific careers) reported the highest means for typing accuracy and reading recall. • Baccalaureate Colleges reported the highest means for personal attributes.
  23. 23. Individual Attributes • Gender: Additional analysis was conducted on this construct to reveal that females have higher individual attributes on all factors except locus of control. • Ethnicity: African Americans reported the highest means on all categories except locus of control which was reported by Latino / Hispanic.
  24. 24. Individual Attributes • Number of Courses: In all five factors the highest mean existed for persons who had taken five or more online courses. This indicates that as a person’s experience with online courses increases, that the degree to which their personal attributes are a good match for distance learning also increases. • Age Range: In this analysis it is clear that one’s individual attributes in relation to online learning do improve with age. The highest means for all factors except help seeking were demonstrated by students 48 years or older.
  25. 25. Individual Attributes • Students at Baccalaureate Colleges reported the highest means for help seeking, time management and academic attributes. • Students at Special Focus Institutions (which prepare students for specific careers) reported the highest means for procrastination and persistence. • Learners at Corporations reported the highest means for locus of control.
  26. 26. Learn More • • Request a free pilot of READI • • (877) 411 ELTB (3582) Toll Free • A product of
  27. 27. Tour of READI • Student view – • Administrator/Faculty view –
  28. 28. WWW.READI.INFO
  29. 29. Information about the instrument
  30. 30. Reliability and Validity Information
  31. 31. Login Screen
  32. 32. Custom User Interface
  33. 33. School Specific Questions
  34. 34. Ability to Stop and Start the Assessment
  35. 35. Automated PIN Email
  36. 36. Note the Ability to Change Text Size
  37. 37. Info About The Reading Passages
  38. 38. Results Reported in School’s Interface
  39. 39. Color Coded Results
  40. 40. Graphical Results
  41. 41. Reporting National Averages is an Option
  42. 42. Tabbed Sections of the Report
  43. 43. Free Resources Provided for Each Section Schools can Provide Info About Their Own Resources
  44. 44. Detailed Info On Each Learning Style
  45. 45. Results Graphically, Textually and Numerically Reported
  46. 46. READI Administrative Area • Can be used by faculty and staff who are reviewing the student’s READI scores.
  47. 47. Usage Metrics
  48. 48. Results At A Glance
  49. 49. User Group Set-up
  50. 50. Assessment Settings
  51. 51. School Specific Questions
  52. 52. School Specific Instructions
  53. 53. Search & Export Data
  54. 54. Data Export Options
  55. 55. Email or Delete Selected Students
  56. 56. How Do Schools Use READI? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 In the admissions process In an online orientation course As an assignment in an online course Other Source: 2008 READI Usage Survey
  57. 57. READI Usage Patterns • Most schools provide READI as an option to students but about 30% of schools do require that students take READI. • Most schools make READI available to all students but about 30% make it available only to distance education students. • About 30% of schools go over the READI scores one-to-one with students.
  58. 58. Comments About READI Usage • READI offers a realistic view of one's ability to navigate in an online learning environment. It also highlights the individual's potential conflict area, i.e., doesn't have a computer, etc. From our perspective, READI offers an unbiased, objective overview of the student's ability to succeed in an online learning environment. • Students are encouraged to use the data for their own benefit. Many report sharing the data with parents and friends, and say the data is helpful in their online studies. • We use the data to learn more about student demographics, learning styles, and preparedness for participating in online classes. The information we gather from READI informs the development of student services/tutorials. • READI addresses all the major problems that online students face. Even if a student takes an online class when READI seems to indicate that the student is probably not prepared, at least that student knows what to expect.
  59. 59. Comments about READI Usage • I believe that the students enjoy the ease of the testing and immediate results. I think it is a very easy to use and user friendly tool. I appreciate the fact that you allow storage of previous assessments. • READI is a great pre-assessment tool for those students who would have the intention to go through flexible learning. It allows both students and administrators to determine where the students stand in terms of the technical knowledge, competency skills and the personal attributes in order to achieve Student Success. Likewise, the READI is a good tool to develop a baseline for student demographics to better improve the institution effectiveness plan (IEP). • READI helped our department dispel some myths about student preparedness. It helps us bring look carefully at other variables that affect student success, rather than "lack of technology experience"
  60. 60. Student Comments About READI • "I was concerned about taking an online course. Reading your READI report gave me confidence, which is what I lacked to start the courses. It made me realize that I really wasn't giving myself enough credit. While the course has not been easy, and I have had to work hard, I am successful." • "It was a very interesting assessment! I learned things about my learning style that I did not know. And yes, it was on the mark in estimating my comfort level and degree of success in taking courses online." • "I think it is a good assessment, it makes the prospective student aware of the difference from a traditional classroom setting. Overall I give the assessment an A plus."
  61. 61. Learn More • • Request a free pilot of READI • • (877) 411 ELTB (3582) Toll Free • A product of