Can online learning be a successful model for at-risk learners?
Early articles regarding successful online learners describe students who were motivated, self-directed, and able to “teach” themselves. These are characteristics not often associated with at-risk students. Recently, there has been an increase in the use of online programming for at-risk students. Is this a feasible option or are we setting students up for failure?
As with any environment, a carefully planned online program or course can optimize learning for the at-risk learner. The online platform offers some tremendous opportunity to address some of challenges at-risk learners face.
Successful online learners report the following as some of the components of their online course that supported learner success:
2. Social presence
3. Quality interaction and feedback
At-risk learners report the following as some of the aspects of a learning environment that help them become successful:
Research also indicates that a blended learning environment support at-risk learners most effectively, as they have access to assistance as needed.
There are clearly many more factors that need to be considered when working with at-risk learners or in designing an online course than those listed here. However, if careful consideration is given to the areas where the “characteristics” overlap, a program that will help at-risk students succeed can be developed.
Hart, C. (2012). Factor associated with student persistence in an online program of study:
A review of the literature. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 11(1), 19-42.
Watson, S. (2011). Somebody’s Gotta Fight for Them: A Disadvantaged andMarginalized Alternative School’s Learner-Centered Culture of Learning. Urban Education, 46(6), 1496-1525.