Online orientation courses that promote learner autonomy

by Harmon, Wendy M., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 183 pages; 3522159


As the number of enrollments in online adult education continues to increase, instructional designers must address the issue of how to foster the desire for sustained and enduring learning; and more importantly, prepare students for this lifelong learning process. The purpose of this study was to obtain consensus on an integrated set of components for designing an online orientation course that helps students become more self-directed. A modified Delphi study was created to identify what online orientation course components instructional designers believe are necessary to promote learner autonomy. A group of 50 instructional designers met the minimum requirement of at least five years' instructional design experience in online higher education. The other four instructional designers qualified as experts based on a minimum of 10 years' instructional design experience combining post-secondary, computer-based tutorials, blended learning, instructor-led, and online orientation course development. All participants had additional experience in at least two specific areas covering the (a) development, design, or teaching of an online higher education orientation course; (b) were published authors in the field of self-directed learning or online learning in higher education; (c) or had experience managing online orientation courses in corporate environments. The panel of experts reached consensus on all 25 components. Out of the 25 total components reviewed for designing an online orientation course that promotes learner autonomy, 17 components were considered to be required in the institutional, collaborative, and basic skills categories and eight components were recommended in the basic skills and self-direction categories. Instructional designers, online educational institutions, and academic leadership in adult online education can use this integrated set of components as a guide for designing online orientation courses that help prepare adult learners for the demand of learner-centered environments.

AdviserCarla Lane
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsInstructional design; Adult education; Educational technology; Higher education
Publication Number3522159

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