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Wednesday, May 14 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Identifying the Online Learning Preferences of Adult Aboriginal Students

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In previous research, we created a survey that examined the supports and obstacles related to Aboriginal university students completing face-to-face courses. We found that academic performance at university and student engagement (relationships with faculty and other students) were the strongest predictors of Aboriginal graduation (Walton et al., 2013). We expanded our face-to-face survey to include questions directly related to Aboriginal online course completion, and we are developing an online version.

Very early we learned that many Aboriginal students taking Adult Basic Education (ABE) online had very limited experience with the variety of online course options currently available. Some online ABE courses were based primarily on a textbook that students received by mail. To identify the online learning preferences of Aboriginal university students who have had limited experience with online learning options and access to the Internet and computer technology, we are developing an online survey that demonstrates a small number of online learning options, and then asks students to choose among these options. Our review of existing online course surveys did not find any online assessments that provided examples of online learning options in the areas of student-to-student engagement, student-to-faculty engagement and student-to-content engagement.

Our survey includes brief video segments of three options within each of the above forms of engagement, and then asks participants to rate each option based on three criteria:

  1. Cognitive criteria – “to what extent would the example encourage me to be attentive to and expend mental effort in the learning tasks encountered” (e.g., to integrate new material with previous knowledge);
  2. Behavioural criteria – “to what extent would I be encouraged to make active responses to the learning tasks presented” (e.g., asking questions, solving problems, participating in discussions); and
  3. Affective criteria – “to what extent would the example increase my investment in or emotional reaction to the learning (e.g., high levels of interest or positive attitudes towards the learning).

Our survey also includes questions related to family and financial factors that were found to be important by previous research with Aboriginal online students in Canada (Fahy, 2009).

The two intended audiences are educators who seek to improve the completion rate of Aboriginal students taking online courses, and researchers looking at assessing learning preferences of online students who have limited experience with a variety of online learning experiences.

Of Interest to: Online and distance education, Post-secondary education, K-12 educators, Instructional designers, Researchers, Educational technologists, Administrators

avatar for Bob Byrne

Bob Byrne

Curriculum Media Developer, Open Learning, Thompson Rivers University
M.Ed. Graduate StudentFaculty of Human, Social and Educational DevelopmentThompson Rivers University"Bob Byrne has been involved in distance and online learning technologies since before Al Gore invented the World Wide Web." He worked at UVic, SFU, BCIT and the Commonwealth of Learning... Read More →
avatar for Patrick Walton

Patrick Walton

Associate Professor, Education, Faculty of Human, Social and Educational Development, Thompson Rivers University
Dr. Patrick Walton is a professor in the School of Education at Thompson Rivers University where he teaches Research Methods and Aboriginal.  He is from Saskatchewan and is mixed Aboriginal, French-Canadian, and English ancestry. He received his Ph.D. from the University of British... Read More →

Wednesday May 14, 2014 11:30am - 12:00pm PDT
Campus Activity Centre, Alpine Room 900 McGill Road, Kamloops BC, Canada V2C 0C8

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