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Online Learning Success

Introduction

Distance learning requires discipline. Because classes do not meet in the traditional sense, you must be motivated to begin course work on time, keep up with assignments, and actively participate. If you are participating as an online student, you will have the flexibility of reading and leaving messages for the professor and other students 24 hours a day, seven days per week. This kind of learning demands a high level of participation by every student in order to be most effective.

 

Self-Evaluation

Begin by using the following instrument to measure your readiness for online learning.

1. - Never
2. - Very infrequently
3. - Sometimes
4. - Frequently
5. - Always


____1. I take responsibility for my own learning.
____2. I am regarded by my peers as a self-starter.
____3. I can stay on task without constant feedback about my performance.
____4. I am a person who is curious about many things.
____5. I often figure out novel ways to solve problems.
____6. I enjoy helping others who have learning needs.
____7. Once I have goals or a set of objectives, I can determine what I need to do to reach them.
____8. I recognize and know how to use feedback about progress on a learning task that I have undertaken.
____9. I am good at visualizing how things would be when they are the way I want them to be.
____10. I am good at logistics. I can determine what is needed and devise a plan for getting it.
____11. I believe that knowledge is largely constructed by the learner, and that teachers are more facilitators of learning than dispensers of information.
____12. I understand how I learn best and often think of ways I can improve.
____13. I know what I believe but I am open to other opinions that may be contrary to my beliefs.
____14. I enjoy learning that is both interesting and challenging, and I am motivated in such situations to go beyond the minimum requirements.
____15. I am able to translate learning objectives that have been set for me into objectives that reflect my own personal style of learning.
______ Total

Assessing The Results
The number you put on the Total line above is explained below. The maximum score you could have is 75. Obviously, the higher the number, the higher your potential to benefit from distance education experiences:
55-75: You should have no difficulty with distance education courses. You have a pronounced sense of autonomy and self- direction.
45-54: You will probably do well in a distance education course, but you will have to remind yourself to stay on task.
30-44: Distance education will be a challenge. You will miss the classroom interaction context a great deal.
29 and below: Distance education is probably not a good idea for you!

While these instruments provide guidance for potential distance learners, it is strongly recommended that individuals explore the other links at this site before making a decision regarding distance learning.

 

Additional Information Regarding Distance Education Student Success

Research has shown that there are certain student characteristics and traits that contribute to success in online learning environments. However, it is also true that although distance learners may lack one or more of these characteristics, with discipline it is possible to develop new approaches to learning or strengthen those study habits needed to be a successful distance learner. Specifically, successful distance learning students will:

  • be willing to interact regularly with their instructor and classmates, thereby creating a virtual partnership with faculty and class members.
  • dedicate the same amount of time and effort (or more) to their distance education course as they would to a face-to-face course.
  • possess the self-discipline to learn without face-to-face interaction found in a traditional classroom.
  • meet deadlines and keep track of projects when using regular mail service or online file transmission.
  • appreciate the convenience and flexibility afforded by online courses.
  • be willing to learn how to effectively use the technology (hardware and software) to complete course work.
  • be self-directed and self-motivated.
  • possess good writing skills.
  • be persistent and refuse to give up, even when encountering computer and network problems.
  • be problem solvers and seek alternate solutions while waiting for assistance.
    possess the ability to organize and prioritize work.
  • have the ability to stay on task without direct supervision.

For additional guidance regarding successful distance learner characteristics, you may wish to read the FAQ "Is distance learning for me?" included in this online guide.

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