Support Learner for Distant Learners In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Distant Learners In Nursing Education and Support Learner

Support Learner for Distant Learners In Nursing Education

What Is Learner Success Support In Distant Education,Types of Learner Support for Distant Learners In Nursing Education,Informing The Learner About Courses Distance Education.

What Is Learner Success Support In Distant Education

    As nurses and nursing students increasingly seek access to academic and continuing education and require convenient times and places for educational pursuits, learning at a distance is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Being a member of a distance education (DE) learning community requires changes in approaches to learning on the part of the student and additional services for technical, academic, personal, and career support on the part of the institution providing the educational offering. 

    Unfortunately, support for the distance learner has not been widely studied (Oehlkers & Gibson, 2001). The purposes of this chapter are to identify the needs for learner support in DE courses and programs and to discuss strategies for providing the resources to support learner success. 

Types of Learner Support for Distant Learners In Nursing Education

    Learner support in DE “includes the many forms of assistance that are designed to remove barriers (situational, institutional, dispositional, and informational) and promote academic success. Examples of such services are preadmission counseling, academic advising, financial aid, learning skills instruction, child care and much more” (Potter, 1998, p. 60). 

    Reenrollment support includes information about programs and courses involved, assessment of whether DE is the appropriate learning modality for the students' circumstances and learning style, assessment of computer skills, assessment of prior learning, academic advising, and orientation to the particulars of the distance learning delivery method.

    Once enrolled in DE, students face many changes that can have short- and long-term effects on their lives. Schlossberg (1984) reports that adult behavior is determined by transition, not by age. Schlossberg's transition theory facilitates understanding of adult students in transition by providing insight into factors related to the transition to a new way of learning and use of technology. 

    It can provide information regarding the degree of impact that the transition will have and the assistance that students will need to cope with the transition. Schlossberg noted that four areas influence students' ability to cope with transition related to higher education: situation, self, support, and strategies. Academic institutions can influence the situation by helping students to view the role changes initiated by college enrollment in DE courses as positive and helping students to manage stress. 

    Faculty can influence themselves by facilitating students' access to psychological resources. This is critical because many student problems are not course related, but are personal problems (Robinson, 1981). Institutional support, computer training, and opportunities for students to develop a support group via their DE courses can positively influence support for students during their transition to DE. 

    To influence strategies positively, colleges and universities must have effective learning resources available to meet the needs of students taking DE courses for the first time. Phillips and Kelly (2001) believe “adult learner services complement the teaching process and should be an integral component of a distance education program.” Although support is often a set of standardized services, Granger (1989) and Oehlkers and Gibson (2001) encourage identifying individual learner needs and providing a program that meets the needs of the students.

    Successful transition to DE, therefore, depends on learners being oriented to the unique aspects of teaching and learning at a distance and to the multiple avenues for support. This includes informing the learner about the DE course; orienting the learner to the technology, use of learning resources, the DE learning community, and the role of the learner; providing technical support; and assisting the student to develop personal and study support systems.

    Recently the development of learner support in DE has paralleled and reflected the change in conceptualization of education as transmission of prepackaged knowledge to that of a dynamic transformative process, focusing on developmental constructivist models of teaching and learning and finding ways to engage the learner as an active and central participant in the learning process (Brindley, von Ossietzky, & Paul, 2004, p. 2). 

Informing The Learner About Courses Distance Education

    Because DE courses represent a significant departure from on-campus courses, students must be informed that the course will use DE technology prior to registration (Harasim, Hiltz, Teles, & Turoff, 1996). Providing information prior to the course gives students an opportunity to determine if this course will be appropriate for their learning needs, to determine what resources they will need to acquire or access (e.g, purchasing a computer or locating the video conference outreach site), and to prepare yourself for new ways of learning.

    DE may not be an appropriate option for every student, and providing students an opportunity to assess their own needs and learning styles may alert them to their own ability to be successful. Additionally, DE courses involve active learning, participation, and assignments that involve writing. Potential students may find it helpful to be informed of the demands of the DE course and the changes in student roles before they enroll (Billings & Bachmeier, 1994). 

    The Distance Learning Technologies Group has developed a self evaluation for potential online students that can help students decide if a web based program is for them. Questions include the following: “Do you feel that high quality learning can take place without going to a traditional educational facility? Are you a self-motivated and self disciplined person? Are you comfortable communicating in writing?” (Bedore, Bedore, & Bedore, 1998, p. 17). A questionnaire entitled “Is Distance Learning a Good Match for You?”.It is available online.

    Several strategies can be used to inform the learner about the DE course, such as including the information in the university bulletin of courses, providing information on the school of nursing website, and mailing or e-mailing information letters. 

    Some schools use a learner assessment, posted on the school website, which prospective students can use to determine if they have the technical skills (particularly computer literacy and Internet research skills), writing skills, educational background, readiness for the self directed learning and independence needed for success in DE courses, family and employer support, and the time required for the course. 

    At the beginning of any new DE program, it is helpful to use more than one strategy to keep the student informed about the DE options. For example, Cobb and Mueller (1998) found that although students had been informed about computer literacy requirements in the course bulletin, a follow up letter was helpful in giving them further information and giving times of classes that students could take to increase their skill level.

Post a Comment


Give your opinion if have any.

Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Ok, Go it!) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Check Now
Ok, Go it!