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Higher education Students Understandings About themselves as e-learners
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this paper was to identify what is needed from the academic organization to support student success. More specifically to examine was how six students describe their experiences and their understandings of themselves as e-learners and how they experience their learning. The student’s opinion on the implementation of the course in which they participated was another studied issue.

The first year students were studying their second semester on a part time, on-line, introduction course in Pedagogy, 30 credit points. The studies were carried out during two semesters with no physical meetings. The information and communication technology (ICT) tools were FirstClass and telephone. A well structured study guide was given to the students when the course started.

The study is an example of pedagogical research which  used a qualitative interview method to uncover how six students in higher education understood their  e-learning processes and what  is needed to make e-learning efficient. Data was collected through telephone interviews which were done in May 2009. Each dialogue varied and lasted about 30 minutes. The students were asked to explain how they looked upon themselves as e-learners and how they understood e-learning in general and particularly the net based course they attended at the time of the interview. The interviews were taped and transcribed.

A general social-cultural theory was used as a framework for analysis. The aim of the analysis was to discover in what way it was possible to find similarities and differences in the students understanding of themselves as e-learners and their understandings of learning. To create the possibility of describing and analyzing the students understanding, a qualitative approach was chosen. In other words the aim was to understand and to explain patterns in the data. The interviews were read, reread, coded and analysed by two independent readers. Categories, patterns and units of meaning were found.

When the students looked at themselves as e-learners and their understanding of themselves as e-learners they mentioned their life situation as a common reason why choosing a net based course. Curiosity and a wish to get experiences of net based course were also mentioned as reasons for studying. Opinions concerning the study form were that e-learning had quite different demands on the students and the lecturers compared to studying on campus. All participants were highly motivated to start university studies and to develop knowledge. General points of view in the quotations were high expectations of study and learning. The e-learners understanding of learning were focused on artefacts for learning, communication, support and interaction. The experiences and knowledge about ICT as a pedagogic tool varied. One problem of getting started was the gap between earlier experiences of secondary studies to new demands at tertiary level. Other emphasized the need of being disciplined; to start immediately with the tasks. There were some obstacles to overcome for example to become familiar with the academic environment, insecurity in academic reading and writing, to manage ICT-tools and the time table. The conclusion from the named obstacles is that successful university studies need a clear focus on study planning and a first year student programme. The findings indicate that flexibility in time and room is essential to become successful as an e-learner.

A last, a reflection we want to point out for further discussion is the complexity in organizing successful net based studies. Awareness when planning and organizing net biased higher education is needed in the whole organization, on different levels, from an individual to a structural level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Series
EDEN 2010 Annual Conference, Valencia 9-12 June
Keywords [en]
e-learning, student success, successful learning, flexible learning environment, understand oneself as an e-learner; self directed learning.
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12150OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-12150DiVA, id: diva2:358497
Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2010-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Orving, Karin

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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