Learner Guiding for Distant Education In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Distant Education In Nursing Education and Learner Guide

Learner Guiding for  Distant Education In Nursing Education

Guiding Learners to Distance Education,Orientation to the Technology In Distant Learning,Orientation to the Norms for Participating in a DE Learning Community,Orientation to the Role of Learner in a Distance Education Course.

Guiding Learners to Distance Education

    A comprehensive orientation program is critical to the success of any DE program. The type of orientation will depend on the learner, the course content, and the DE delivery system used, but in general it should include orientation to the technology, how to access and use the learning resources required in the curriculum, the norms of the learning community, and strategies for successful learning. 

Orientation to the Technology In Distant Learning

    The use of DE technology, particularly videoconferencing and Internet, requires special orientation to the technology tools, course management hardware and software, and other specific skills, such as using a video camera, sending e-mail attachments, copying to the clipboard, or using the course management hardware and software. Learners must quickly become self-sufficient, as technical support at the user site may or may not be readily accessible. 

    For videoconference DE courses, this may involve learning how to establish the network connections and how to use the cameras at the reception site; For online courses this includes learning the use of the computer, browser, Internet service provider, and the course management software.

    There are several approaches to orienting students to DE technology, and the selection of the approach should be based on the needs of the learners. One effective way to orient learners is in a hands on immersion course of 4 to 6 hours (Harasim et al., 1996). This can be accomplished by having an orientation day on campus or at designated outreach sites. 

    Others use video conference technology or Internet chats to have all students together for the orientation. However, with learners geographically dispersed, it may not be feasible to have students come to a central location, and other strategies can be used.

    Printed information that requires the least technological sophistication to send and use may be most appealing to some learners. The use of technology can be explained in user guides or handbooks illustrated with diagrams of equipment or sample computer screen views. User guides can be posted on the website. It is also helpful to have a practice course set up where students can test the hardware and software before the course begins.

    Other strategies for orienting students to DE course-specific technology include using a videotape, CD-ROMs, online presentation systems, or streaming video or audio (or both) that demonstrates the use of the technology and provides orientation information. These strategies are more expensive to develop and deploy but may be helpful to students who cannot come to the campus.

    Once students are oriented to the use of the DE technology, it may take as long as two to four class sessions for students to achieve sufficient skill proficiency to shift their primary focus to the content of the course. Faculty must be aware of the time it is taking students to be comfortable with the technology and should structure course activities that encourage both the development of technology skills and the acquisition and application of course concepts. 

Orientation to the Norms for Participating in a DE Learning Community

    As in any classroom, faculty and students establish the norms for appropriate behavior that facilitate participation and collegiality in the learning community. Norms should be established at the beginning of the class and reviewed and monitored as the course progresses. Norms include establishing and maintaining a sense of community, encouraging relevant participation, and respecting privacy, confidentiality, and the ethics of the learning community. 

    Faculty can serve as a guide to membership in the community by modeling these behaviors (Bonk & Cunningham, 1998).Establishing a sense of community in DE courses is necessary to overcome the barriers of distance and technology and, in some instances, lack of visual cues (audio conferencing, some Internet courses, and one way video TV-based courses). 

    Community is established by introducing all class members and, if possible, posting student pictures. Other group process strategies, such as creating a safe and supportive environment, encouraging participation from all students, and acknowledging responses, can be used to maintain the community (Harasim et al., 1996; Porter, 1997).

    In Internet courses it is also important to establish norms for networking. etiquette (netiquette). Basic netiquette includes using student names, respecting differing views, being judicious in using humor, and avoiding insulting or hostile remarks (Harasim et al., 1996). There are several Internet netiquette sites that explain norms for class behavior; students can be referred there. 

    Participation is critical to active learning for individual students and the overall success of the course, and students should be oriented to the nuances of using DE technology to enable class participation as well as to the expectations for scholarly participation within the course. 

    For example, in video conference courses, students learn how to indicate that they wish to make a comment by dialing in to the discussion or releasing the “mute” function; In audio-based courses, students must learn how to listen for appropriate pauses in conversation in order to gain the “floor” (Henry, 1993). 

    Participation in Internet courses is heavily text based, often using threaded discussions, which can result in large numbers of messages, and students should be oriented to posting relevant comments and threading them appropriately.

    Because learning outcomes depend on course participation and collaboration, expectations for participation should be made explicit at the beginning of the course. These expectations may include minimum numbers of contributions to course discussions or specifications for role activities when working in teams. 

    Harasim et al. (1996) recommends motivating participation by making it a significant component of the course grade. DE courses are more public than most classrooms, and norms for privacy, confidentiality, and ethical behavior are extremely important to the success of the learning community. Both faculty and students are responsible for affirming how these principles will be used in their course. 

    For example, students and faculty should agree to confine discussion of privileged information to the course. It is also important to protect the privacy of clients and case studies that are discussed as examples of teaching points within the class; names and other identifying information should be withheld. Finally, school policies and ethical guidelines about the use of published material and respect for copyright and plagiarism should be observed. 

Orientation to the Role of Learner in a Distance Education Course

    The role of the learner is changing as the information technology tools of DE encourage active construction of knowledge, inquiry, critical thinking, reflection, collaboration, and use of learning resources and knowledge work tools. Students who are successful in DE courses are self directed; independent; able to network with classmates, colleagues, and faculty; and are well on their way to developing the skills of lifelong learning (Harasim et al., 1996). 

    Faculty can assist students to develop these skills by guiding them to identify their learning needs and consider how those needs will be met, by negotiating roles, and by aligning support from families, employers, mentors, and experts. Although the use of DE technology may make courses accessible and convenient, it also transforms learning into active and collaborative experiences that may be even more time-consuming than that experienced in some on-campus courses. 

    Course management strategies are necessary to ensure productive use of time. Faculty can assist students in planning for adequate time for the course by specifying learning outcomes and the amount of time needed to achieve them. Students should be able to allocate sufficient time for course activities, identify study space, and learn to use the technology before class starts.

    In learning communities, students assume responsibility for their own learning as well as for the success of the group. Students may have to be oriented to teams and collaborative work groups; Faculty should mentor students in the formation of productive work groups and monitor the development of group processes. 

    It is also important for students to understand their own learning styles and how they might be affected when taking a DE course. There are several learning styles inventories available, and some are now available on the Internet. Students can use them to assess their own learning style preferences and assume responsibility for adapting them to the DE learning environment.

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!