Eleader conference Krakow 2008 June 9 11 2008

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“E-leader conference, Krakow, 2008“ June, 9 -11, 2008 Krakow, Poland Participants’ characteristics for e-learning

“E-leader conference, Krakow, 2008“ June, 9 -11, 2008 Krakow, Poland Participants’ characteristics for e-learning Zlatko NEDELKO University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business, Maribor, Slovenia, E-mail: zlatko. [email protected] si

Agenda o o o I. The selected problem II. Introduction to e-learning III. Participant’s

Agenda o o o I. The selected problem II. Introduction to e-learning III. Participant’s characteristics IV. Participant’s characteristics – a case study V. Discussion VI. Concluding remarks

I. The selected problem (1) o o o Distance education any learning in which

I. The selected problem (1) o o o Distance education any learning in which participants are at a distance from each other (e. g. are not at same place at same time) The very first distance education was through written correspondence (i. e. traditional mail) In last couple of decades advancement in modern ICT has enabled evolution/emergence of electronic learning (e-learning) E-learning typically involves the use of ICT and computers to support learning ICT is therefore a central construct which enable and/or support the process of e-learning. E-learning represents a great proportion in distance education

I. The selected problem (2) o E-learning represents a radical change in learning paradigm,

I. The selected problem (2) o E-learning represents a radical change in learning paradigm, which has influenced various fields in the problematic of e-learning - needed sufficient level of skills and knowledge for working with modern ICT and computers - materials and literature are changed - personal characteristics of participants who participate in e-learning process and participants’ readiness and interest for such a (changed) way of learning

I. The selected problem (3) o o E-learning has become an important way of

I. The selected problem (3) o o E-learning has become an important way of education E-learning represent a radical change in education process (participants are at physical distance) In paper we examine participants’ personal characteristics and their importance for incorporation of potential participants in e-learning process This paper offers an insight into the participants’ personal characteristics and proposes a set of participants’ characteristics which could lead to success in e-learning process

II. E-learning (1) o o E-learning is rapidly growing as an acceptable way of

II. E-learning (1) o o E-learning is rapidly growing as an acceptable way of education A very simple definition defines e-learning as a learning which is supported and/or made possible by the use of modern ICT and computers

II. E-learning (2) o Several different formats of e-learning are: - Web supported –

II. E-learning (2) o Several different formats of e-learning are: - Web supported – a e-learning format which is complementary to traditional learning process. There is a Web site (i. e. portal for distance education) for the class that contains course materials, assignments, goals, exercises and tests; - Blended or mixed-mode e-learning – course is structured so that part of the class sessions are held in a traditional (face-to-face) setting and part of them are held with usage of modern ICT over internet (popularity, establish a rapport with educator and get clear instructions how to study in distance mode; - Fully online e-learning format – every class session is held in distance mode

II. E-learning (3) Some possible benefits for participants are following: - Flexibility (convenience, 24/7);

II. E-learning (3) Some possible benefits for participants are following: - Flexibility (convenience, 24/7); - Accessibility (cost, lose time, rural area); - Own pace of study (other obligations); - Accommodation of different learning styles of participants through different activities (multimedia, text materials) Most common disadvantages from participant point of view are: - Feeling of isolation (no FTF contact); - Technology issues (equipment, internet); - Basic computer skills; - Lack of self-discipline and self-motivation; - Method of evaluating participants’ work/success in e-learning process

II. E-learning (4) Most common benefits for teachers are: - reduced amount of administration

II. E-learning (4) Most common benefits for teachers are: - reduced amount of administration - reuse of materials prepared for a course Most common benefits for providers of e-learning - global presence (e. g. increased number of participants) - reduced costs for delivering courses Most common drawback for teachers are - very time consuming preparation of course content and course materials - course materials need to be updated often - usage in short period

II. E-learning (5) o o o Physical distance among participants in learning process is

II. E-learning (5) o o o Physical distance among participants in learning process is most significant difference which distinguishes traditional (face-to-face) learning and e-learning The possibility for social interaction among elearning participants is reduced Important issue which is somehow neglected in literature is also participants (personal) characteristics. In comparison to traditional (face-to-face) learning process in e-learning process participants need or/must have several characteristics that contribute to success in e-learning process

III. Participant’s characteristics (1) o o Participants’ success in e-learning process depends on multiple

III. Participant’s characteristics (1) o o Participants’ success in e-learning process depends on multiple interdependent factors (e. g. technology, course materials, participants’ personal characteristics) For the purpose of our discussion we are focusing on participants’ characteristics. Due too the changed nature of e-learning process (e. g. physical distance, home-working) is also important that participants possess and/or have characteristics which are basis for success in e-learning process

III. Participant’s characteristics (2) o o Participant characteristics is a partial characteristic (and/or part

III. Participant’s characteristics (2) o o Participant characteristics is a partial characteristic (and/or part of complex characteristic) which importantly influence success in e-learning process Most probable and possible participants’ characteristics needed to succeed in e-learning process are - Level of skills and knowledge for working with computer and ICT (sufficient level) - Self-motivation and motivation for learning Self-discipline (autonomy, own pace of study) - Attitudes towards e-learning – participants must be interested in participation in such a way of education; - Attitudes towards usage of e-literature – (e. g. changed nature of e-literature)

III. Participant’s characteristics (3) - Felling of isolation – need for social interaction and

III. Participant’s characteristics (3) - Felling of isolation – need for social interaction and personal contact (e. g. excellent way vs. boring) - Independence – participants must have ability to work well with minimal structure (e. g. few instructions are offered to participants); - Good thinking skills – participants must be able to use higher-order thinking (e. g. synthesis, evaluation), especially due to the lack of interaction with lecturer and peers. - Good problem solver – participants must be able to resolve problem mainly on their own, (e. g. trust could become an issue) - Good time manager – participant must be able to develop a schedule, establish goals and meet due dates.

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (1) o o The research about e-learning was

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (1) o o The research about e-learning was conducted among undergraduate students (2 nd and 3 rd year of study) at the Faculty of Economics and Business, Maribor, Slovenia Primary aim of research was to examine students’ attitudes towards e-learning For the purpose of our paper focus was on students’ characteristics, which are considered as a basis for success in e-learning process Among 177 answered questionnaires, 155 questionnaires were completed and therefore usable

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (2) o Some general findings (1) All 155

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (2) o Some general findings (1) All 155 participants in research has a computer at home, use internet for studying purpose and has at least one active e-mail address; (2) most of students use computers everywhere (3) 98. 1 % of students use portal for DE; (3) 87. 7 % of students are using student’s forum; (4) 60% of students in research using their selfphone mainly for calling and also for writing short messages, and also 38 % students use WAP services; and (5) 98. 7 % of students think, that use of eliterature in traditional education process will enrich traditional education process

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (3) Attitudes towards usage of modern ICT Not

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (3) Attitudes towards usage of modern ICT Not important 1 2 3 4 Very important - - 5. 8 % 13. 5 % 45. 8 % 34. 8 % Participants’ level of skills and knowledge for working with modern ICT and computers o Students’ knowledge and skills for working with computer and modern ICT are relatively good (e. g. 95 % as good or better) Very poor Poor Fair Good Very good Excellent - - 4. 5% 34. 8 % 50. 3% 10. 3 %

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (4) o o Motivation for studying Very low

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (4) o o Motivation for studying Very low 1 2 3 4 Very high 1. 3 % 2. 6 % 7. 7 % 52. 3 % 28. 4% 7. 7 % Self-discipline Not important 1 2 3 4 Very important - 3. 2 % 5. 8 % 21. 9 % 49. 7 % 19. 4 %

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (5) Participants’ attitudes towards education at distance o

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (5) Participants’ attitudes towards education at distance o More than 90 % of asked students are interested in elearning o Attitudes towards distance working/studying – working from home o Not important 1 2 3 5. 2 % 16. 8 % 41. 3 % 24. 5 % 4 Very important 7. 1 % We see that after asking more precise question fewer students are very interested in participation in e-learning process

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (6) Materials and literature used in e-learning process

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (6) Materials and literature used in e-learning process o 76 % of asked participants are interested in using e-literature (e. g. PDF format) o 84. 5 % students like to use multimedia instead of traditional materials; 15. 5 % students prefer traditional materials and literature o 98. 7 % students believe that use of e-literature (also) in traditional education process will enrich it o 76. 1 % students think that appropriate designed e-literature can replace traditional literature

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (7) o o What characteristics should have a

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (7) o o What characteristics should have a good e-literature Majority of students are willing to use eliterature and are therefore suitable for participation in e -learning process - 36. 8 % understandable text to students 36. 1 % easy to use 11 % clearness of text 6. 5 % goal attainment 1. 9 % good appearance 2. 6 % interactive test for reiteration 1. 9 % entertaining content 1. 9 % quotation of references for additional study literature, etc …

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (8) o o Feeling of isolation Feeling very

IV. Participant’s characteristics – case study (8) o o Feeling of isolation Feeling very lonely 1 2 3 4 6. 5 % 7. 1 % 12. 9 % 27. 1 % 31 % Do not feel lonely 15. 5 % Sense of belongingness (as a value) Not important 1 2 3 4 Very important 1. 9 % 4. 5 % 8. 4 % 29. 7 % 33. 5 % 21. 9 %

V. Discussion (1) o o o Neither a cutting edge technology is not enough

V. Discussion (1) o o o Neither a cutting edge technology is not enough (and/or is not a guarantee) for success in elearning process. Participants in e-learning process have different set of personal characteristics - suitability for participation in e-learning process vs. prospects to succeed in e-learning process For positioning (potential) participants of e-learning process, we defined a continuum. On one extreme are participants who have very favorable characteristics and therefore good prospects to succeed in e-learning process; on the other extreme are participants, who have less favorable characteristics and therefore fewer prospects to succeed in e-learning process.

V. Discussion (2) o Participants who have good prospects to succeed in e-learning process

V. Discussion (2) o Participants who have good prospects to succeed in e-learning process should have following personal characteristics: - Very positive attitudes towards usage of modern ICT (“almost prerequisite”); - High level of skills and knowledge for working with modern ICT and computers; - High motivation for studying; - High level of self-discipline; - High interest for participation in e-learning process; - Very positive attitudes towards usage of eliterature; - Low need for social interaction with peers

V. Discussion (3) o Participants who have fewer prospects to succeed in e-learning process

V. Discussion (3) o Participants who have fewer prospects to succeed in e-learning process have mainly following personal characteristics: - Very negative attitudes towards usage of modern ICT; - Low level of skills and knowledge for working with modern ICT and computers; - Low motivation for study; - Low level of self-discipline; - Low interest for participation in e-learning process; - Very negative attitudes towards usage of eliterature; - High need for social interaction with peers

VI. Concluding remarks o o o Determined personal characteristics which could importantly influence participants’

VI. Concluding remarks o o o Determined personal characteristics which could importantly influence participants’ success in elearning process could be used also as a selfevaluation test. Potential participants who are interested in participation in e-learning process can determine their suitability for such a way of learning. On the other hand also providers of e-learning could determine suitability of potential participants according to selected set of personal characteristics. With our discussion we are re-opening (again) the question about the importance of participants’ characteristics in e-learning process

Discussion Thank You for Your attention Mail to: zlatko. nedelko@uni-mb. si

Discussion Thank You for Your attention Mail to: zlatko. [email protected] si