What factors influence learner success? Simonson, Smaldino, & Svacek (2015) express that “much of what the student brings to the classroom setting, whether face to face or virtual, a set of characteristics that can influence the success of the instructional plan (p.191).” From this, factors that influence learner success include (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015):
· Learning Experiences
· Distance Learning Experiences
· Elements of Success
· Learner ResponsibilityI recently had a very difficult course that I experienced. It was not difficult in content or rigor, but existed in a cultural or sense of frantic helplessness. The instructor was experiencing reduced hours for teaching, and very much took it out on her own teaching and the course experience. Live weekly meetings were broken each week, leaving some students unable to ever present their work, or week two work to be addressed during week nine. The professor complained incredibly, told us her pay level, and even went so far as to detail how the university is overpriced for the education we received, and asked me to inquire for an adjunct position for her where I work during one of our weekly sessions. To say the climate was uncomfortable is an understatement. In this situation, the professor never succeeded in establishing a community of learners and critically limited instructional success (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015). I agree with Simonson (2015) that while I am an independent learner, I find great value in a collaborative learning experience (p.192). The experience I received during that time was confusing, aggravating, and at times embarrassing, both for the instructor and myself.
But what of responsibility? How do you feel responsibility differs for learners in traditional and distance environments? The seven learner responsibilities, as described by Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek (2015) include (p.195-201):
· Differences in settings
· Time for class
· Class Participation
· Assuming responsibility for own learning
· Equipment requirements and use
I find in my field that between the two environments technical know-how of equipment use differs between the two environments (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015). Students do need to know the use of certain software packages, and it strikes me how little is known in the face to face environment- even with technology as standardized as email. In a virtual environment, professors rely on onboarding programming for their students to be proficient in their everyday scholastic needs. They rely on services being easy to access and readily available to students in the virtual worlds, such as libraries, advising, financial aid, etc. In the face to face environment, these services can often be assumed to exist, and teachers able to guide a student across a hall or building. There are advantages and disadvantages I think to both. Virtual worlds force students to become more independent, yet the face to face world allow for time to become technology literate. Mind you, with the rapid growth of technology reliance, I believe that time is ever-dwindling. This is touchy and relevant to what is happening today in education.
What are your thoughts?
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.