1 Uninettuno (ITALY)
2 University of Florence (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6019-6024
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.1424
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Achievements Students who are taking distance higher education are constantly increasing in the last years (Allen & Seaman, 2017); furthermore, many workers and adult learners are oriented to online education. Compared to traditional universities, these courses provide a range of tools, resources, synchronous and asynchronous learning, that are changing the experience of study in space and time. To face the new challenges, students grasp from their personal experiences on the Internet.

These skills are often acquired in the online community of practice, or the affinity space (Gee, 2005) and then used in formal education. The success in academic achievement is preferred mainly by the control over the learning process (Zang, 2005). Students are required to be active and autonomous in monitoring and managing the studying process. Particularly in online courses, a self-regulated learning can be the best strategy (Broadbent & Poon, 2015). In this study, the question is “What personal practices influence the effectiveness of online learning?”

The study is based on a longitudinal analysis of 100 (31% males; average age 33.9) undergraduate students attending a full online course. They responded to a questionnaire to collect demographic data and inquire on the frequency of the use of Internet apps and the purpose of using Internet applications. The hypothesis is that being familiar and competent with the digital environment could facilitate an academic career. The analysis showed a factor, called Information Gathering/Productivity (IGP), describing students' tendency to be effective in exam grades. IGP explains online behavior connected to search and select information, organize activities and tasks. After two years from enrolment, this characteristic is confirmed regardless of genre, working condition. Students who have passed their first exam continue in persevering at the time and succeed in the academic career. The first months from enrolment are crucial, even for the online students, to continue their career.

[1] Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2017). Digital learning compass: Distance education enrollment report 2017. Babson Survey Research Group.
[2] Broadbent, J., & Poon, W. L. (2015). Self-regulated learning strategies & academic achievement in online higher education learning environments: A systematic review. The Internet and Higher Education, 27, 1-13.
[3] Gee, J.P. (2005). Semiotic social spaces and affinity spaces: From the age of mythology to today’s schools in D. Barton & K. Tusting (Eds.). Beyond communities of practice: Language power and social context. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.–2005.- 214–232
[4] Zhang, D. (2005). Interactive multimedia-based e-learning: A study of effectiveness. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 149-162.
Higher education, digital media, meta-competence, digital competence.