About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8821-8828
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2056

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

REDUCING RISK-FACTORS OF ONLINE UNIVERSITY LEARNERS BY IMPROVING LEARNING AND LIFE SKILLS

D. Apple1, W. Ellis2, D. Leasure3

1Pacific Crest (UNITED STATES)
2Academy for Process Educators (UNITED STATES)
3Higher Learning Challenge LLC (UNITED STATES)
As educators, we want all students to succeed. Institutions of higher education admit students that they judge likely to succeed. And yet, not all students do. They fail. They leave with debt and doubt. Debt with no credential to help obtain more rewarding employment. Dropouts doubt their ability to succeed in college or in other serious endeavors. In the United States, 38 million adults have some college and no degree. Administrators often view dismissed students as “bad bets” for the institution. Because these students have already failed, require more attention, and then subsequently often re-fail, investing more in them is “throwing good money after bad”.

Institutions that are aware of the risks may be able to design interventions that reduce the risk of failure. In 2017, the authors conducted research with 174 students at a large, online, competency-based institution in the United States serving adult undergraduate and master’s degree students. Through a one-month online course requiring between 60 and 100 hours to complete, students learned key learning and life success skills and applied them to their own growth goals. As a result, students generated self-reported quantitative data on the reasons for failure and associated risk factors and also rich qualitative data in self-assessment, risk assessment, success planning, and reflection on personal growth.

Through surveys and assignments, the authors identified the most common reasons for failure and grouped them into thirty-five risk factor categories. The study did not limit analysis to academic risks but included mindset and personal risks from the students’ environments. Academic skills such as problem-solving became key self-help tools in the students’ repertoire for handling any challenge to their success.

Students created a life-vision for themselves as a set of statements about the identity and accomplishments they wished to have. They practiced learning skills that significantly increased their productivity and quality of learning. They learned life skills for emotional self-regulation, self-assessment, performance improvement, and problem-solving. With these life skills, they analyzed their previous failures and designed personalized solutions. Goal setting, planning, time management and prioritization skills created personalized recovery plans. Students reflected on their growth and wrote an analyzed the contributions.
Previous research created fifty characteristics of quality learning and the authors applied it to students’ growth analyses.

Of the original 174 students who started one of the six iterations of the course, forty-nine did not finish and 125 completed the demanding course for a start-to-finish rate of 72%. Over half the completing students described the course as transformational, and all of them described it as helpful.

The authors briefly describe the research and course structure. They list and prioritize the risk-factors. The describe key quality characteristics, skills, and mindsets (identity) that support self-resolution of challenges by students whether academic or external. Results are presented showing student growth quantitatively and qualitatively.

A theory of personal and cultural transformation based on identity development, skill repertoire expansion, the creation of personal success narratives captured as non-judgmental self-reflection and self-assessment, and reframing of culture explains the observed transformation of students.
@InProceedings{APPLE2018RED,
author = {Apple, D. and Ellis, W. and Leasure, D.},
title = {REDUCING RISK-FACTORS OF ONLINE UNIVERSITY LEARNERS BY IMPROVING LEARNING AND LIFE SKILLS},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.2056},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.2056},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {8821-8828}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Apple AU - W. Ellis AU - D. Leasure
TI - REDUCING RISK-FACTORS OF ONLINE UNIVERSITY LEARNERS BY IMPROVING LEARNING AND LIFE SKILLS
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2056
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 8821
EP - 8828
ER -
D. Apple, W. Ellis, D. Leasure (2018) REDUCING RISK-FACTORS OF ONLINE UNIVERSITY LEARNERS BY IMPROVING LEARNING AND LIFE SKILLS, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 8821-8828.
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