Preparing Online Learning Readiness with Learner-Content Interaction: Design for Scaffolding Self-Regulated Learning

Preparing Online Learning Readiness with Learner-Content Interaction: Design for Scaffolding Self-Regulated Learning

Juhong Christie Liu (James Madison University, USA) and Elaine Roberts Kaye (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9582-5.ch009
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Online learning readiness is fundamental to student successful participation, presence, and interaction in online courses. Effective facilitation of these key components depends on sound instructional design. In self-directed online environments, learner-content interaction and scaffolding self-regulated learning have been found of primary importance to generate meaningful learning. To provide a solution to the challenges of interoperability of various functions in synchronous online learning environments, this chapter presents a case study about the design and development of a self-paced orientation to help students acquire online learning readiness. Learner-content interaction is strategically utilized in the design to scaffold self-regulated learning. The results of the case study demonstrate that this orientation positively prepares students to be ready for learning in a synchronous online environment. The approach can be of practical use to individuals and groups.
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As the enrollment in online courses continues to increase, higher education is faced with a paradigm shift in managing teaching and learning practices in immersed physical and online environments. According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s report, there were 7.1 million students enrolled in the universities and colleges in the United States taking at least one online course in the fall of 2012, which reached a historic peak with an increase of 411,000 (Allen & Seaman, 2014). To meet the demand of rising enrollment in online learning, there is a need to provide training and support that are instrumental to student success in technology-mediated and self-directed online environments (Allen & Seaman, 2014). Thus, the preparation for student online learning readiness becomes an integral part of the strategic management of online programs and classes (Rufai, Alebiosu, & Adeakin, 2015).

In online learning, strategies are applied to manage a wide variety of resources, concepts, procedures, and techniques that are related to the access and needs of diverse stakeholders (Burgelman, Christensen, & Wheelwright, 2004; O'Neil, Fisher, & Rietschel, 2014; Sawyer & Howard, 2007). Grounded in sound instructional design, these strategies are integrated in online courses and programs to moderate the interaction, presence, and participation, which have been found closely associated with student satisfaction and learning experience (Alsharif & Roche, 2010; Baker, 2011; Salmon, 2011; Shea & Bidjerano, 2010).

Developing student readiness has been suggested to capitalize on the potential offered in online learning environments (Jones, 2013; Wozniak, Pizzica, & Mahony, 2012). Readiness manifests as a combination of basic technology skills, proactive access to and use of technology, attitude toward information and computer technologies, competency of online communication, formulating learning strategies, and capability of seeking help (Dray, Lowenthal, Miszkiewicz, Ruiz-Primo, & Marczynski, 2011; Hung, Chou, Chen, & Own, 2010). Lack of readiness preparation is found related to perceived barriers to success in online classes (Barbour & Reeves, 2009). Orientation programs that are focused on increasing students’ readiness need to accommodate various technology competency levels and previous online learning experiences (Cho, 2012; Ullmann, 2009). In self-directed online environments, students are expected to have meaningful interaction with instructional content to generate learning (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).

The purpose of this chapter is to explore instructional design and development strategies in preparing students’ online learning readiness with learner-content interaction. The exploration is based on the role that interaction plays in online courses, and designing the instructional product to scaffold student self-regulated learning. The presentation of a case study on designing an orientation for online learning readiness is intended to investigate strategies to facilitate learner-content interaction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Strategic Management: a systematic process that analyzes needs, determines decisions and conducts course of action to maintain the competitive performance of an individual or organization, usually taking into consideration of long- and short-term goals, objectives, stakeholders, and outcomes.

Online Learning Readiness: Cognitive awareness and maturity that a student develops for successful learning in a web-based environment. It manifests in the attributes of recognizing the self-directed nature, formulating learning strategies, obtaining technology competencies, adjusting to digital etiquettes, and being open for help-seeking.

Learner-Content Interaction: The cognitive and/or perceptual contact between students and the materials of study that result in acquisition of meaning by students, such as reading text in print or digital formats, watching or listening to media, operating with equipment in labs, and finding information.

Technology Affordance: The contextual factors and conditions in a technology-mediated learning environment. These can be potential to enhance learning or barriers to limit learning success, which is usually leveraged for optimal integration in learning through sound instructional design.

Asynchronous Online Learning (AOL): Learning activities in a web-based environment that allow communication between class members and interaction with content at time and location that are flexible and convenient to each individual in an online class. Technologies enabling AOL include emails, text-messaging, blogs, online discussion, wikis, streaming media, or a digital content management system.

Synchronous Online Learning (SOL): Learning activities in a web-based environment that allow real-time communication between class members and interaction with content. Technologies enabling SOL include text-, audio- and/or video-based chat, video conferencing, simultaneous presentations from physically distributed sites, and application sharing.

Self-Regulated Learning: An active process where an individual takes responsibility to acquire knowledge and skills by setting goals, adjusting to the factors and conditions related to learning tasks, making decisions about when and how to seek help, and reflecting for transfer.

Design and Development Research: A type of research that connects traditional research methodology with technology affordance, studying how to optimize the technology potential in solving instructional or non-instructional problems related to learning.

Scaffolding: The direct and indirect support in instructional or non-instructional formats that aids students to learn complex or unfamiliar concepts, procedures or skills. It can be provided as explicit or implicit components in the learning process and gradually fade away or be available for use as needed.

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