Skills – assumptions, perceptions and expectations

There is a rumour that’s been going around for while that I thought I’d address.  This may come as a surprise, so hold on to your chair….

Not all students are computer or web savvy!

It’s true, many people assume that anyone under the age of 30 is going to be a wiz on anything computer or web related. Unfortunately, this isn’t true.

When designing an iLearn unit, consider the skill level of activities that you are creating.  Is it something that can be completed by a range of skill levels?  Are you asking students to complete a task using a form of software or web tool that students may not have used before?  If the answer is yes, then you really should be scaffolding the task and giving students clear instructions or pointing them to self help materials.  This can be from explaining to students why you want them to submit their assignment through Turnitin, what do those percentages mean, or how to use Prezi if the task requires them to use Prezi.  If you answered yes, then you may have already experienced feedback (or panic attacks) from students that they can’t complete the activity because they don’t have the skills.

A great blog I often read, Online Learning Insights, recently published a post on Five Need-to-Have Skills for Online Students, which outlines the top five skills students need for a successful online learning experience.  Also referred to in the post is this great Online Learning Readiness questionnaire, which is something you could link to in your iLearn unit, as an introductory/housekeeping activity and ask students to design an online learning plan for themselves.  It is  licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike, which means that you can use this with attribution.

And finally, a last plug for student iLearn help resources…. refer to this previous Teche post.


2 thoughts on “Skills – assumptions, perceptions and expectations”

  1. It’s an interesting insight. We recently interviewed current Macquarie students for a project. Out of the six that we spoke to, one (first-year) student , told us that they found iLearn difficult to navigate through. They expressed that convenors expect students to ‘already know how to use it… But that’s not necessarily true.’

  2. This is definitely true for our students studying off-campus in the Centre for Open Education – we support a range of students of all ages and with varying abilities in information technology usage, who study fully online via Open Universities Australia. All students, especially those who are studying for the first time, have to master the challenges of online self-directed learning, including basic LMS navigation (especially finding/downloading resources, accessing quizzes and posting to forums). Preparatory courses in which students can self-enrol can be useful to help them develop/enhance IT skills, such as the Start for Success program offered by OUA, which assists students in developing skills and strategies prior to their formal program, especially if they are studying for the first time or returning to uni. This is free, self-paced and open to anyone:–prep02new-2014#overview

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