Characteristics of the Online Learner
Learners (specifically adult) engage in learning or training for various reasons, i.e., learning new skills to, add value to their qualifications, mandated by their employers, optimize spare time etc. However, learners face the challenge of remaining motivated if they do not feel the training is relevant or practical. To develop effective training when preparing a training plan/instructional material, trainers/instructional designers must be conscious of not only performance and learning context, but also features of the target population. Not all learners are alike and differ in the way they learn. “The process of identifying these specific ...view middle of the document...
It has also been discovered that the choice to enroll in online learning program by adult students, is influenced by geographical location of the learning institution and the student’s residence. There are increased numbers of students who enroll in online learning program because of being living far from the preferred learning institutions (Allen & Seaman, 2007).
Effective features of online learning students include internal locus control, self-directedness, learning styles, motivation, and other character traits. Research displays that the adult learners enrolled in online programs tend to have strong internal locus control than that of students in traditional in-residence learning programs. Furthermore, online learning adult learners are self-directed, and are driven by personal interests and desire to succeed. Most studies indicate that online learners tend to be highly motivated in the pursuit of their courses (Barnett, 2010). They face learning from a visionary perspective, knowing that their efforts will reap fruits of their labor.
These studies also show that online “non-traditional” learners are inclined to have less concrete learning styles than traditional students. They can learn from mixed content types and activities, and they require less of interpersonal interaction in the educational environment than on-campus students. Additionally, according to the Academic Technology Center, online adult learners tend to be more emotionally stable, compulsive, intelligent, trusting, passive, self-sufficient, conforming, introverted, and expedient than on-campus students (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2007).
Development of an Online Training Program
Online training can be not only cost effective but, also useful when training large numbers of learners across different locations. Several systematic design models exist for developing instruction and the most well-known is referred to as the “ADDIE’ (analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate) model This paper will focus on the “analyze and design” phases of ADDIE. In developing an effective training plan for delivering online learning, after identifying training “gaps” and determining instructional objectives, conducting both a “learner analysis” and a “context analysis” is essential. Understanding the characteristics of the target population, i.e., online learner...