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Exploring students’ learning experience in online education: analysis and improvement proposals based on the case of a Spanish open learning university

Authors
  • Rivera-Vargas, Pablo1, 2
  • Anderson, Terry3
  • Cano, Cristina Alonso1
  • 1 Universidad de Barcelona,
  • 2 Universidad Andrés Bello,
  • 3 Athabasca University,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Educational Technology Research and Development
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Aug 27, 2021
Pages
1–23
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11423-021-10045-0
PMID: 34465970
PMCID: PMC8395378
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Cultural and Regional Perspectives
License
Unknown

Abstract

Not surprisingly, the number of online universities continues to expand—especially in Covid-19 times. These institutions all offer “online education” with diverse institutional, technological, and pedagogical processes. However, a fundamental element has to do with the experience of the students, and how they adapt to the educational model of the online university in which they are studying. In this article, we present the main results of the case-study developed in one of the most historical and relevant virtual universities in an international context. We have explored and analysed the process of adaptation to the educational model by the student body, and their perceptions of their interactions with the pedagogical, institutional, and technological elements designed to support their learning. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used to gather and analyse the data. From 1715 students who participated in the survey and the perceptions of 30 students individually interviewed, the results show positive evaluations regarding the integration and adoption of technological competencies, and also, that the online education generally serves as a responsive model to the emergent needs of the learner. However, the results also show that students have important concerns regarding the pedagogical and institutional support provided.

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