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Understanding Online Learning | Origin: EL201

This is a general discussion forum for the following learning topic:

Online Communication: Engaging and Retaining Online Learners --> Understanding Online Learning

Post what you've learned about this topic and how you intend to apply it. Feel free to post questions and comments too.

You have to be able to reach the student on a different level to create an environment where they feel they are in the classroom even online.

Good information

I have serious concerns about the success of our students in this new online learning environment. Our students do not fit the demographic stated in this course for typical online distance learners who are 25+, often in their 30s and working full time. That type of student has the dedication and maturity to succeed in a self-paced online environment. It’s difficult enough to identify students in our on-campus classrooms who are struggling to understand the material. They often don’t have the “self-advocacy” to ask for help when they need it. As the course mentioned, there is no back row to hide in.

  • “Online students must be capable of managing their time wisely, studying effectively, anticipating and adapting to problems, and appraising the effectiveness of their efforts.
  • Self-advocacy is the ability to assert oneself or ask for help. In online classrooms, instructors cannot see a confused look on a student’s face. Online students must take the initiative to ask for help before problems become emergencies.”

After nearly completing two online courses in the Google Classroom, what I’m seeing confirms my suspicions. As few as 50% - 60% of the students are marking the assignments as completed, and less than one third after two full weeks into the course. This speaks to the first bullet point I pasted above.

We’ve received exactly zero questions from students about the material or topics being presented. I can’t believe that 122 students watched hours of video, looked over the material in their workbooks and text books, and don’t have questions. Either they are not completing the assignments, or as the second bullet point above points out, they lack the self-advocacy to ask for help when they don’t understand something.

Getting our younger, less self-motivated students to engage in this online format is going to be a challenge, and I’m hoping that having the upcoming virtual study and office hour video conferencing sessions breaks the ice and gets them to engage this new format.

Most online universities and colleges have developed specialized curriculum that is designed to function in an online format. The students who enroll in these schools have decided for a multitude of reasons, that this is the best scenario for their education. On the other hand, some skills can not be fully understood without a considerable amount of hands-on in-person education and training. With the current social seperation and distance learning being the new normal, many students who did not choose or agree to online learning are being directed to accept it. This is causing, understandably, quite a bit of silent push back. Some are going along with it but many seem to be avoiding it altogether. The online content is very infomative and will definately be very helpful to them.  There is, however, a lot of material that will be lost if too much time passes before the hands-on portion is done.  

While several of my colleagues have expressed some of the same concerns as I have about our students being able to make a transition from hands on direct instruction to online learning. That being said there were a couple of points touched on in this section I thought were interesting, one was the ability to ask for help when needed, many in the current generation lack this skill set they are just "ask goggle" mind set. Doesn't always work that way. Another was writing skills, this is a huge problem, they have not been taught this functions well  in K-12 and it is very tough for them to communicate clearly, sadly this is only going to get worse. One this I would love to see is the virtual groups I think this could be a great learning tool.

I was amazed that online learning was created in the 60's. Also, how the perception of online vs F2F students is irrelevant. i do agree that it is not the school or format that counts but the qualifications and experience of the applicant.


I know many instructors of online that just check off what the student has done giving out zeros for all work missed and moving on.  There's no or little reaching out to the student to see if they can help.  That's why I believe that building that relationship early in the course is so important and having multiple ways of eaching the student and doing so all along the way not just at the end when grading the course. 

The academic issues for which students will encounter may be minor if the instructor have sound basic core values. Commununication is one of the best methhods to keep students engaged and motivated. Honest communication will help to guide the student along. Your class is as strong as the person behind it and you.


I think it will take a while longer before everyone is on board with giving online learning the respect it deserves.  Naturally, it depends on the subject matter and institution backing the online learning, but for the most part, I find it equal to and sometimes harder than F2F classes.  In wither situation, building strong relationships of communication, trust & caring between the instructor (who is often seen as the institution) is key to a successful student experience and retention.

the seven online competencies can help students improve the online experience.

"Students can not hide in the online classroom" is so true. Without their friends in a face to face class we as instuctors are able to see each students work, or lack off. 

I see that the seven online competencies can help students improve the online experience.

I learned that the first online class was PLATO in 1960.


As an instructor in F2F class, you can look for clues to see if students are falling behind.  With online instruction, given a interesting atmostphere to learn-engaging with your students-a instructor can succeed. Stating all students are immature for online courses is a out of touch instructor.


Perhaps surprisingly, in 2010 the U.S. Department of Education found that on average, students in online learning environments performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.


Although the advances of online learning methods/technologies has made an impact on education and teaching students I cannot help but wonder if it has truly helped those of us teaching in CTE fields requiring hands on skill.  When it comes to certain types of learning where hands on learning and skills are necessary to learn and required to obtain employment I have found students can be broken down into three categories.  They are as follows:

  • Students who do well in the online portion but fail when it comes to the hands on portion such as lab
  • Students who do not do well in the online portion but excel when it comes to the hands on portion such as lab
  • Students who do well in both the online portion and the hands on portion such as lab
So armed with this knowledge I have found through experience that Hybrid courses or a combination of traditional and online instruction is the be best mode of instruction for my particular subject matter.  We have also heard from employers, through our yearly Advisory Committee meetings, that students need to be able to interact with each other, superviors, and in teams as well as understand ontime behavior when it comes to being an effective and productive employee.

Great session in breaking down the levels of online learning vs face to face


What I learned in this was the online learning environment and face to face environment.

I agree that technology has changed the way student participate in education.  Online learning would help those student who have busy life schedule and it provides good oppertunities for different levels learning. Also, to make it successful for learning, the student need to have self-management, self-advocacy, and technologicy fluency. I have some students in my class, they have hard time with technology skills that really effected their learning. 

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