Most often, online instructors start and welcome their new students in their classes with the assumption that a new class is an extension of their previous class. In other words, they assume that every student in their new class has the basic skills or knowledge needed to engage in an online learning environment. Similarly, many students enroll in online course due to convenience but at the detriment of considerations such as good fit, being prepared, and being ready. Suffice it to say that many online learners engage in online learning without self-examination to determine whether they have the traits of a successful online learner and the prerequisite knowledge. Thus, this presentation highlights some basic but important traits and prerequisite skills a learner should acquire prior to enrolling in an online course. Using available literature, this presentation isolates the basic traits and knowledge considered sine qua non for online learning. Some of these traits include self-motivation and discipline, the ability to communicate in writing, a willingness to commit four to 15 hours per week per course, and the feeling that high-quality learning can take place without going to the traditional classroom. In addition, an online learner must possess basic computer literacy skills such as knowledge of basic hardware and software, the ability to perform computer operations, internet skills, online communication skills, and basic terminologies. Furthermore, the online learner must have imperative basic knowledge, such as knowledge of the browser, plug-ins, and Java that are relative to the Learning Management System (LMS). The presentation also focuses on developing a tool for assessing the readiness of online learners.
The tool is a self-assessment, five-point Likert Rating Scale that requests respondents to honestly rate their traits and level of knowledge and skills against some listed items. The rating scale will be divided into sections: the bio data with no personal identification, online learning traits, and basic online use.
(1) State and discuss the traits of a successful online learner.
(2) State and discuss at least three prerequisite skills required for engaging in online learning.
(3) Appreciate the importance of assessing the online learning readiness.
Topic Area(s): Online & Hybrid Learning
Benjamin C. D. Agbo earned his PhD in Work and Human Resource Education at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He got his BS and MEd. in Vocational Teacher Education and Industrial Technical from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also has a MN K5−12 Teaching License.