Learning Orientations, Tactics, Group Desirability, and Success in Online Learning

Diane D. Chapman, Ed.D. Teaching Assistant Professor North Carolina State University

Since the inception of Web-based learning, there have been disagreements about what types of students are most likely to succeed in the online environment. Group work, an essential aspect of most graduate study, has limitations in Web-based environments. Learning styles and personality types are factors to consider in the design of online instruction and in attempts to promote online collaboration because these factors have been found to differ in online students as compared to those enrolled in traditional instruction (Jones & Martinez, 2001). Learning orientations are considered more useful than learning styles when working with online students because unlike learning styles, learning orientations consider the impact of emotions, intentions, will to success, and social factors on learning (Jones & Martinez, 2001). Understanding the relationships between student learning tactics and orientations can provide information to better plan, structure, and teach Web-based courses. In addition, examining these characteristics along with such variables as end-of-course grade and group member attractiveness, can lead to further understandings of the impacts of our design actions upon student success. The findings from this exploratory research will suggest strategies for designing and managing Web- based instructions. This research attempts to look at the connections between learning orientations, preferred learning tactics, group member attractiveness and success in online learning (represented by project and course grades.) - Excerpt read more