Learner attributes in online environments:
The impact of the individual on the outcome

Year: 2006

Author: Siragusa, Lou, Dixon, Kathryn, Dixon, Robert

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Developments in online learning methodologies have been rapid in recent years and have promised improved education and training to an increasingly diverse cohort of students. The tertiary education sector is under increasing pressure to compete in an environment where globalisation of learning has resulted in the adoption of online delivery in order to compete in the education marketplace. This study investigates students' reactions to their learning environment while completing a program of study which is delivered fully online in a Western Australian university. The research utilises student questionnaire data which focussed upon factors relating to communication apprehension and competence, the experience of perceived loneliness, locus of control, collaboration by students regarding the learning experience, institutional support and the students' sense of self efficacy while completing a unit of study over one semester. The results indicated that students' personal perceptions of communication apprehension and competence were highly influential on their overall expectations of educational success in the unit studied. The students' sense of isolation as well as control over the learning materials and environment lead to an increase in their belief regarding a timely and successful completion of the unit of study and their perceived ability to interact effectively with others.