The Contribution of Information Communication Technologies in Online Career Counseling: Case Study of an Online Community Within Higher Education

The Contribution of Information Communication Technologies in Online Career Counseling: Case Study of an Online Community Within Higher Education

Nikolaos Mouratoglou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and George K. Zarifis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9779-7.ch008
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Information communication technologies have undoubtedly affected the discipline of career counselling. Nevertheless, online career counselling remains a rather limited practice in Greece; therefore, the chapter attempts to contribute to the wider dialogue that has been addressed so far, by focusing on the design, implementation, and assessment of an online career counselling program for higher education students and graduates. The purpose of the study is to present the main parameters related to participants' learning experience, such as motivation, barriers to participation, as well as adopted strategies for overcoming these barriers during the online program. The researchers conducted 15 semi-structured interviews to collect data for summative assessment. The analysis of the data indicates that prior acknowledgement of learners' motivation, educator/career counsellor's role, the learning environment, the methods utilized, and the teaching material can maximize the effectiveness of equivalent programs, due to the fulfillment of their needs, goals, and expectations.
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The study is grounded in four interdisciplinary fields; Lifelong Learning, Distance Learning, Instructional Design and Online Career Counseling. This section will briefly discuss dimensions of these disciplines, in order to form the framework of the present research.

The notion of Lifelong Learning can be approached as a twofold, because it reflects different epistemological and semantic background. On the one hand, Lifelong Learning is described as a process in which a person can learn new things, in new ways and for various reasons. Although this process seems to be an individual case, it is governed and guided by social or inter-subjective characteristics and factors that bring change both at the individual and the social level. On the other hand, Lifelong Learning seems to be outlined, in the post-modern era, through a variety of conceptual definitions, such as the empirical implementation of educational policy in western culture, the institutionalization of education throughout the life-span, as well as the perception that human life itself constitutes a learning journey (Karavakou, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Community: An online space in which members of the community interact with each other and share at least one common belief, aim or concern.

Online Career Counseling: Professional counseling sessions delivered through Information Communication Technologies and focus on assisting people—of any age and at any point throughout their lives—make career-related decisions, educational, training and occupational choices, deal with career-related issues and manage their careers.

Personal Branding Tools: Tools that introduce an individual, in terms of personality traits, aptitudes, knowledge, skills, and attitudes; indicative forms include curriculum vitae, resume, personal statement, LinkedIn profile.

Instructional Design: The process of inquiring participants’ needs, goals, expectations, motivation and barriers to participation in order to define specific learning outcomes, which are expected to be achieved upon completion of the teaching and learning activities, as well as of the assessment tasks that have been designed in an earlier phase.

Lifelong Learning: Learning that occurs throughout the life span including formal, informal and non-formal learning.

Lifewide Learning: Learning that occurs in various settings including formal, informal and non-formal learning.

Flexible Learning: Learning in which specific factors such as content, time, space, mode, and pace are determined by the learner.

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