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Vuxnas lärande på nätet: Betingelser för distansstudier och interaktivt lärande ur ett studentperspektiv
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth education, Special Education and Counselling.
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is a part of a project, “Interactive Learning in Distance Education”, funded by The Swedish Research Council. The overall purpose was, from adult distance learners’ perspective, to describe, analyse and understand factors influencing studies and interactive learning in asynchronous computer-mediated learning environments. Da¬ta were collected in 2003; from 62 students (56 women and six men) attending an undergraduate and a supplementary distance cour¬se within the teacher training program. The study was based on questionnaires, diaries, portfolios, interviews and transcriptions of students’ postings to the computer conferences FirstClass and Web¬Board, respectively. The courses included campus meetings and individual studies accompanied by study guides containing reading instructions, timetables and individual as well as group-related assign¬ments. Asynchronous text-based, computer-mediated commu¬nication (CMC) was used for dialogue among the participants. The results indicate that difficulties to combine studies with commitments in the students’ everyday lives and lack of familiarity with higher education and computer mediated distance education constituted learning obstacles. Almost everyone emphasised the importance of communicaion with peer students for feeling satisfied in the study and learning situation. They appreciated the asynchronous text-based CMC because it increased the flexibility of the studies. The students´ online behaviour and statements also indicate feelings of social presence and solidarity with peer learners, despite using a medium with relatively low capacity to convey social cues. Female and male students described similar difficulties of combining family, work and study. Women sho¬wed lower self-esteem in terms of computer skills and coping with their studies. They highlighted the social importance of the studygroup to a higher extent than the men did. The ideal course design in terms of structure, dialogue and autonomy altered depending on students´ perceptions of benefits. They wanted flexibility and autonomy to be able to combine the studies with commitments in their everyday life, at the same time they appreciated elements of structure and governance in situations when these involved saving of time. The communication in the computer conferences was extensive but the analysis of the learners’ contributions provides little evidence of effective collaborative learning activities. Several reasons to this were discussed, e.g. students´ lack of time and knowledge to form functioning learning communities, as well as insufficient course design to promote and support collaborative distance learning. It was concluded that there is a gap between teachers' ambitions to create an interactive learning environment on the one hand, and students´ skills, attitudes to collaboration and need to share their time between studies and other commitments on the other. Also, teachers´ ambitions to develop distance education aiming at collaboration and interactive learning are often hampered by their limited skills and time frames to design and implement such courses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, Institutionen för Barn- och ungdomspedagogik, specialpedagogik och vägledning , 2008. , 58 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 23
Keyword [en]
Computer-mediated distance education, Adult learners, Collaborative learning, obstacles and opportunities, Transactional distance
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1813ISBN: 978-91-7264-590-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1813DiVA: diva2:142081
Public defence
2008-09-26, N320, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Interactive Learning in Distance Education
Available from: 2008-09-05 Created: 2008-09-05 Last updated: 2009-05-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Stress, disruption and community: Adult learners’ experiences of obstacles and opportunities in distance education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stress, disruption and community: Adult learners’ experiences of obstacles and opportunities in distance education
2005 (English)In: European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, ISSN 1027-5207, E-ISSN 1027-5207, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this study was to describe, analyze and understand adult distance learners' experiences of obstacles and opportunities that influence their studying and learning. Many researchers in educational science, in Scandinavia today, state that knowledge is constructed through collaboration between the individual and the social surroundings, where language and communication between individuals are basic elements. Thus, another purpose was to investigate the learners' experiences of the effects the fellow students had on their studying and learning. The results are based on diaries from 33 adult distance learners, participating in a full-time introduction course in a teacher education program. The results show that most of learners found that it was difficult to combine labor and domestic life with fulltime studies. Many learners also expressed difficulties due to their lack of experience with distance learning. They reported that they have had problems in structuring and organizing their studies. Almost all learners emphasised the importance of peer learners for their feeling of satisfaction, social support and support regarding the interpretations of the assignments. The interaction affected satisfaction and motivation for most of the learners. Some of them also indicated that postings from classmates affected their self confidence. Since those are essential elements in the learning process, the interaction amongst learners indirectly supported their learning process

Keyword
Adult distance learners' experiences, study environment, interaction, obstacles and opportunities, socio-cultural perspective
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-7644 (URN)
Available from: 2008-03-18 Created: 2008-03-18 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Kvinnor och män i datormedierad distansutbildning: en explorativ studie om betingelser för distansstudier utifrån kvinnliga och manliga studenters egna beskrivningar
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kvinnor och män i datormedierad distansutbildning: en explorativ studie om betingelser för distansstudier utifrån kvinnliga och manliga studenters egna beskrivningar
(English)In: Tidskriftet digital kompetense - Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, ISSN 0809-6724 Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, ITU Universitetet i Oslo
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3401 (URN)
Available from: 2008-09-05 Created: 2008-09-05Bibliographically approved
3. Interaction and collaborative learning: If, Why and How?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interaction and collaborative learning: If, Why and How?
2008 (English)In: European Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning (EURODL), ISSN 1027-5207 Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this explorative study was to develop further understanding of factors influencing peer-learner interactions and collaborative learning activities, in an asynchronous computer-mediated learning environment. The study was conducted with a small group of seven students enrolled in a supplementary course for special education teachers. Questionnaires, portfolios and transcriptions of the students’ postings into WebBoard were used for collecting data. The results indicate that the students appreciated computer-mediated communication but they preferred face-to-face communication, did not collaborate with assignments beyond requirements. There was little evidence of factors characterizing effective collaborative learning activities. Several possible reasons were found and discussed, e.g., the design of assignments and assessments, the teacher’s activity, the group-building process, the students’ life situation outside of their studies, the students’  motives to enrol in the course, their preferred learning style and their skills in how to collaborate effectively in an asynchronous computer-mediated environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Budapest: EDEN Secretariat, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 2008
Keyword
Peer-learner interaction, collaborative learning, asynchronous computer-mediated distance education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3402 (URN)
Available from: 2008-09-05 Created: 2008-09-05Bibliographically approved
4. Prerequisites for interactive learning in distance education: Perspectives from Swedish students
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prerequisites for interactive learning in distance education: Perspectives from Swedish students
2008 (English)In: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET), ISSN 1449-5554, Vol. 24, no 1, 42-56 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates distance students' understanding of the prerequisites for interactive learning in asynchronous, computer mediated university distance studies. It encompasses students' attitudes to structure, dialogue and autonomy, and their experience of social presence and what they consider interaction with peer learners signifies for their learning. The data were collected from an undergraduate and a masters course within the teacher training distance program, using questionnaires, interviews, diaries and analysis of students' contributions in FirstClass and WebBoard respectively. The results indicate that there was no difference between the student groups in preferences concerning structure, dialogue and autonomy. Their preferences depended on their ideas about how to benefit from different situations. They preferred a course design permitting them to use time effectively in relation to their other commitments outside the university. The results also indicate that they felt social presence despite using only asynchronous, text based communication. The student groups, however, had different ideas about the significance of inter-learner interactions. The amount of spontaneous contributions sent to WebBoard and FirstClass also differed. The undergraduate students stressed the social and practical aspects, while the masters students to a greater extent emphasised the cognitive aspects. The amount of spontaneous interactions was also higher in the undergraduate group. These students need more support from others in order to manage their studies compared to the masters students.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3403 (URN)
Available from: 2008-09-05 Created: 2008-09-05 Last updated: 2009-05-25Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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