Friday, September 25, 2009

Elearner Motivation and Support

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all
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Learner motivation differs in each learner according to circumstance. Yet a common factor shared by many elearners, of all ages, is their isolation.

This year, I feel privileged to have a daughter who is studying in her first year of a BA course in Fine Art at AUT. I’m equally as fortunate to also watch her younger sister pilot her way through her first examinable year at High School.

The role of the parent

My daughters are capable learners, but I’m always aware of the roles my wife and I play in providing necessary support with their study.

As parents and supervisors, we are appreciative spectators, sounding boards, mentors, fund managers and sometimes even punch-pillows, for we love our daughters dearly.

Hannah is hostelling in Auckland; her family lives in Wellington. The presence of the Internet and reliable mobile phone reception permit a free flow of communication which we take advantage of every day. Despite the 500 kilometres between us, these digital links can close the distance, effectively at times to within a few centimetres.

Motivation and support

While adult learners often have a maturity that permits a greater focus on engagement, some can find it just as difficult to knuckle down to study as do teenagers. Elearners need support, and not only from their learning resources or their teachers.

A solo mother can find her motivation for learning academic skills dulled through the importance of her necessary child-care responsibilities.

A mother, who has a partner who may be less committed to her study, can meet similar snags to her motivation.

In much the same way as the younger learner needs support from parents or caregivers, a learner who is in a relationship needs support from his or her partner.

The eteacher may well be aware of circumstances where an elearner’s home lacks necessary study support. But what can a teacher do about such a situation so that there is benefit to the learner?

Teacher-caregiver support

Relationships between the teacher and the learner's caregiver can play an important part in assisting home support. Caregivers are not always aware of the needs of the learner.
For instance, aspects such as the need for access to a computer and other study requisites may not be understood.

Communication between teacher and caregiver can often help solve learner difficulties. But
sometimes it is as demanding for the teacher to engage the supervisor as it is to engage the learner.

How on earth do eteachers go about tackling this challenging task?

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


V Yonkers said...

I have called or emailed students that I think are floundering. I have "online" office hours when I might also chat with students, the same way that I do with my traditional students.

I think it helps, also, that I have been an elearner so I have a better understanding of what the student is going through.

One thing I do with elearners that I am not as strict on with traditional learners is if they need an extension on an assignment, I have them set the date and then STICK TO IT. This allows the student to work within their own context, but also requires them to make school work a priority.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Thanks for this. I too phone up students on a regular basis with my learning cohort, but also frequently phone those who, as you say, appear to be floundering. This is teacher support which is part of good pedagogy.

It's the support that the learner receives from others who are actually with them on the spot: the parent, the husband, the sister, the boy-friend. I have found that this support (help) is almost as important as the support that I can offer as teacher. But it is not an easy task encouraging this where little support exists.

Getting those different support areas working in sync can have some amazing outcomes for learners.

Catchya later

Anonymous said...

E-learning is a very good choice, it actually lessen the time and effort of going to universities just to study