About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2327-2335
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1482

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

LAYERING LEARNER SUPPORTS. A CASE STUDY EXAMINING LEARNER EXPERIENCE OF A MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AND SUPPORT APP

M. Waters

An Cosán Virtual Community College (IRELAND)
The research in this paper is based on the development and introduction of a mobile communications app to a cohort of adult learners on a blended online programme. This intrinsic case study explores the hypothesis that providing access to a learner communications app improves learner motivation and engagement.

Learner retention on online learning programmes is typically very challenging with little research existing on student supports for online learners. Disadvantaged adult learners require additional supports to engage in lifelong learning and accepted Androgogical principles do not apply to this unique cohort. Socio-economically disadvantaged learners often have negative educational experiences, suffer anxiety and self-esteem issues who are highly challenged when engaging with learning online. As such, they need additional support and direction to successfully navigate their programmes.

The case study focuses on 13 disadvantaged adult learners enrolled on this 10 week online blended programme. The mobile communications and support app was introduced to the cohort at induction and complemented existing supports for the duration of the programme. The provision of this app aimed to provide social, managerial and technological supports shifting communication channels to mobile platforms which are increasingly universal.

The paper reviews the relevant literature which informed the design and implementation of the app, particularly referencing the area of online learner supports, disadvantaged adult learners and personal learning networks. The author provides a rationale for the methodology and outlines the methods of data collection used.

Using a mixed-methods approach, this case study used quantitative and qualitative student feedback to explore the themes of engagement and motivation on the programme and the impact of the app on learner experience. This feedback was triangulated with data analysis on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and app analytics. The research critically analyses learner engagement with the app and makes recommendations for future app development and implementation.

Conclusions drawn are limited by the small number of participants in the case study. The research supports a conclusion that providing accessible routes to programme supports tailored to the needs of this cohort aids learner confidence and engagement. Enabling and encouraging the development of a community of learners increases motivation and social inclusion. The research raises noteworthy implications for programme facilitators including managing learner expectations and the additional workload inherent.
@InProceedings{WATERS2017LAY,
author = {Waters, M.},
title = {LAYERING LEARNER SUPPORTS. A CASE STUDY EXAMINING LEARNER EXPERIENCE OF A MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AND SUPPORT APP},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1482},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1482},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {2327-2335}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Waters
TI - LAYERING LEARNER SUPPORTS. A CASE STUDY EXAMINING LEARNER EXPERIENCE OF A MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AND SUPPORT APP
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1482
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 2327
EP - 2335
ER -
M. Waters (2017) LAYERING LEARNER SUPPORTS. A CASE STUDY EXAMINING LEARNER EXPERIENCE OF A MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AND SUPPORT APP, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 2327-2335.
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