“Persevering at online learning is also affected by computer and information literacy, time management…online communication skills…self-esteem, feelings of belongingness in the online program and the ability to develop interpersonal skills with peers…” (p. 199)
By reflecting on this quote, it gives me some understanding of the struggles I have personally had as an online learner. There are obstacles I may not have control over, and a few that just took a while to develop. I never really thought about the challenges I would face by choosing online learning, over a classroom. Of course I figured my biggest challenge would be time management, having a life, a job, kids and juggling school is never easy, but what I didn’t expect was the difference in communication. Having no peers to discuss assignments with, like a standard classroom, or even communication with your instructor is a learning curve. I feel I need to try to work out my struggles before asking for help, which I wouldn’t do in a classroom. I am big on group discussions when instructing my class, if I have multiple students asking the same question in clinic I like to draw everyone’s attention to the topic so we can discuss as a group, it’s not the same online. Once I moved on to my blog assignment it was nice to have a peer to have discussions with. We read over our assignment during a skype call and worked through our issues together. I really enjoyed having a peer again. What caught my attention about this quote is that it’s not just me who is learning how to persevere at online learning but a whole community of online learners, which may be facing similar challenges. It’s reassuring that you’re not alone, that there is group discussions you can join, online coffee shops or even blogs from past and current students working through the same assignments that you can use as guidance.
I have realized that by doing an online course, I wasn’t just having to learn about the “foundations of adult educations” but also about online learning. This brings to my attention that some of my students may be learning more than one thing at a time. If they are an adult learner, with a family, and they are going back to school later in life, they too may have many obstacles to overcome to persevere in the classroom. By understanding the characteristics of your learners you can help plan lessons and activities that fit their diverse needs.
My Aha! Moment when reading this quote would have to be when I realized that my instructor was using his assignments to help develop skills he knew we would need to persevere in our online course. Assignments like creating a blog helped us to develop our computer literacy skills. By pairing us with a partner to do a web-conference project with, he was helping us to connect our feelings of belonging in the online program and our abilities to develop interpersonal skills with our peers. My key insight from this quote would have to be that there is always more than meets the eye. There is so much thought process put into the design of every course and assignment. It not just one goal that an instructor is are hoping we get out of any assignment but multiple levels of growth as well.
I feel that by reflecting on this quote I have really dug deep down into how I am truly feeling about being an online learner. I have got a better understanding of the detail and thought process that goes into each and every lesson plan and assignment. That there is so much more to considering when you are looking at an assignment, it not just the end result but also how you get to that end result. The levels of personal growth you have gained by working with a partner, or how learning to create an online blog can keep you in touch with new and emerging trends in technology. I am excited to bring this new knowledge to my classroom, and to look at how we are incorporating different levels of learning into our current assignments and lesson plans. My goals as an instructor is to keep striving to achieve more, to bring something new to my classroom from every assignment I do along my way to completing my instructor diploma, and finally to help my students take more than just a grade away from my classroom.