Activity 2.1 Learner experiences

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  worldexpos 6 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #17555


    A colleague has studied on an Open University course based around physical and mental wellbeing. This course was to them “extra-curricular” as they are currently employed in IT and are looking to move into setting up practice as a sports therapist.

    As a general rule, they would try and organise their studies around free-time, working back to aims and goals of the course, assigning time as the “needs” of the course dictated. They did find this a challenge especially when evening and weekends are busy with family life.

    Their motivation in taking the course was to be able to change career path, this type of course offered the flexibility that they needed to be able to work, have a family life, and continue educational practice.

    They liked the flexibility of the learning. They enjoyed the freedom that came with this, although they did suggest that it was difficult to engage with the course once a “break” in online activity had taken place, due to family or business needs. They felt that there was a lot of support from their tutors at the OU, and the OU systems they use have an intuitive design, they also enjoyed the learning pathway and process the OU system provide.

    The colleague in question did suggest they felt their learning was a mix of surface and deep learning, based around the topics that they were interested in the most. With subject matter that they had either met or covered previously easy to dismiss or spend less time working on.
    My thoughts on this would be that no matter how hard we try to engage users, this loss of “learning appetite” for subjects or topics will happen online as it does in face to face learning activities, perhaps more so in the online learning world, due to competing factors for user time and attention.

    I welcome comments either here or on my blog:

  • #18108


    Hi Glenn

    Thanks for being the first to tackle Activity 2.1, at least in the forums – I’m sure there are other views out there across participants’ blogs. I’ll go try and find these shortly!

    In the meantime I think your example underlines very nicely both the contextual nature of learning that has been touched upon elsewhere, and also the importance of ‘learning appetite’ and how that can influence our levels of engagement.

    It’s undoubtedly far easier to get really immersed in learning something we are interested in, enthusiastic or even just curious about. Much less so when the learning involves topics we just can’t get as switched on by. There’s probably something to be said here about the need for education, and possibly higher education in particular, to provide individuals with the choice to learn about and become whatever they’re most interested in. There’s also something to consider here about what learners self-select to study (i.e. a particular degree course) and what they don’t necessarily have a choice about (e.g. compulsory modules or units within a course that don’t align well with their interests). There might even be a distinction to make between ‘loss of learning appetite’ and when that appetite isn’t present from the outset – in which case the challenge of engaging learners is even harder.

    I don’t have any answers to this, except that your post has underlined for me the importance of choice and flexibility in learning and the strong link that this has to motivation and engagement.



  • #21336


    I really like the term “learning appetite”.

    A learner experience that I’d like to share is of a family friend who needed to get a certificate to show he knew about the responsible service of alcohol before being hired as bar staff. The course was online and should take around two hours to complete. Each of the questions could be attempted multiple times.

    There was no content, just blank spaces on the web pages followed by the multiple choice a questions. So he just kept working his way through each question until he happened upon the correct answer and the next section was ‘displayed’.

    So, no learning of any kind took place, although I guess ‘surface’ was the style employed and personally I think the person who tested the learning object should be hung drawn and quartered! (And no, he wasn’t using an iPad )

  • #21375


    Looks like it may need a re-design to properly engage its users @ Sue.

  • #23462


    Interesting that time should be one of the key elements in the learning experience, regardless of this experience ‘taking place’ face-to-face or happening remotely.

    The synchronous or asynchronous character of the learning and teaching provision is key here, and ultimately relates to the individual’s ability to manage themselves, and their diary in particular.

    This is actually something which features in some of the online pre-entry online questionnaires the course invited to look at earlier: how able is the person to organise their time and manage conflicting priorities?

    To me, this reflection points at the importance of face-to-face teaching and learning provision being as prescriptive as possible in terms of attendance and participation, because the events this creates creates a (positive) pressure on individuals to keeep involved. Now it’s true there are also tools to check on individuals’ involvement and retention with online courses, so the distinction might not be that strong after all.

    ‘Learning appetite’ fundamental indeed. Hence the unavoidable question of the ‘why’? Do we eat to live, or live to eat? Do we learn to live or live to learn?

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