I’ve been following the Faculty Focus blog this semester and I recently read their posting “What We Can Learn from Unsuccessful Online Students”. This posting discussed why some students are not successful with online courses and what teachers can do to help these students to learn.
Online courses generally have a lower completion rate than face to face classes but little research has been done to look into why students don’t do as well (Lorenzetti, 2014). One study that was conducted took students from ages 20-49, who had withdrawn from an online class, most of whom had tried to take multiple online classes and were unsuccessful (Lorenzetti, 2014). The results from this study can be broken down into three areas, course issues, student issues, and suggested improvements (Lorenzetti, 2014). Course issues that students had include finding the subject boring, being auditory learners and the class being taught mostly through visual means, technical issues, and not liking the discussion or blog format. Student issues included problems with time management, issues outside of school like work or family, putting their face to face classes first, having problems with reading comprehension and needing additional time and help from the professor. Improvements that students though instructors could make were showing their expertise in the subject, not having the entire course be reading, and offering computer lab time with online class instructors for additional help.
I found it interesting that the post discussed how auditory learners can struggle with online classes if the professor does not provide lectures or videos. This relates to the different styles in which students learn, visual and aural, and how some students without one component can struggle (Maatta Smith). This is an important idea for professors to keep in mind when teaching an online course and should attempt to incorporate both visual and auditory components to increase the success of their students.
This post introduced some great ideas about the success of different students and online courses and also made a great point that more research needs to be done in this area. Additional studies would only help with understanding what students are looking for with online classes and how to improve their learning experience. This was only one small study and it makes me think about what other factors can also influence a student’s success with online classes. With more schools offering online courses and students wanting more subjects to be available online it is important that the online classes are just as informational as face to face courses.
Lorenzetti, J. (2013). What we can learn from unsuccessful online students. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/can-learn-unsuccessful-online-students/
Maataa Smith, S. Learning and teaching [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.wayne.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-4716600-dt-content-rid-4409772_2/courses/LIS_7880_1409_001/Teaching%20and%20Learning.pdf