Supporting Mature Learners at a Distance

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Title: Supporting Mature Learners at a Distance
Authors: Ryan, Orna
Dowling, Linda
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Date: 1-Sep-2006
Online since: 2019-04-18T08:30:06Z
Abstract: This paper will examine some of the key themes arising in the literature in respect of learner support and will present a case study highlighting how the features of effective learner support have been implemented on a non-traditional distance learning programme within a traditional University setting. The innovative model of learner support has been designed and implemented at a programme-level and is founded upon the ‘centrality of the learner’ and seeks to reconcile the needs of the learners and the needs of the institution. These supports have had a direct and positive impact on student learning, have fostered an environment where learners experience a strong sense of ‘connectedness’ to this distance learning programme and to the University itself and have been a significant factor in the continuing high satisfaction surveys of learners and in the high learner retention rates. In order to create and sustain an effective learning environment, the degree of learner support requires customisation to meet the needs of the particular group of learners. Rowntree (1992) suggests that distance learners may need support of different kinds at different stages of a programme. This paper will examine the particular types of support non-traditional learners may need in a variety of areas and at different stages of a programme. Each element of learner support will be discussed in the context of a single framework which consolidates and unifies disparate aspects of student learning. The paper will also address issues such as the centrality of the learner in learner support design, the models of learner support, the need for learner induction, to help learners become independent and self-directed and the importance of feedback as an ingredient in learner development.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: AISHE
Keywords: Effective learner supportStudent learningDistance learning programmeDistance learnersNon-traditional learners
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Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Conference Details: AISHE-C: 2006: Creating and Sustaining an Effective Learning Environment, NUI Maynooth, 31 August - 1 September 2006
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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