Online learning: Learner characteristics and their approaches to managing learning

Resumen:
Using cluster analysis this study investigated the characteristics of learning strategies learners use in online courses with one-on-one mentoring. Three distinct approaches were identified: "Mastery oriented", "Task focused" and "Minimalist in effort". Despite the widespread concern that students will have difficulty managing their time in online courses with high level of student freedom, this study found that the vast majority of learners were very effective in their learning strategies. The findings speak well for the potential of distance education environments to provide high quality self-paced learning, accommodating different learning strategies, which is difficult to do in group-paced courses. We further explored how these approaches relate to and interact with, participants' background and their levels of satisfaction and self reported learning.

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