This was the focus of an interactive presentation Teach Learn Share leads Dr Casey Cross and Dr Sarah Brearley gave at the Learning Teaching and Student Experience conference (#ltse2018), held in Glasgow (24th & 25th April 2018).
The pace of technology since the millennium has left e-teachers playing catch up with technologies available/being used by students. Learners in 2018 are fully engaged online and used to responding with a single click -such as the face emojis 😀😂😝. Institutes of Higher Education need to now recognise the implications of this on learning and learners, and e-teachers must understand different types of online learners & encourage positive characteristics in order to encourage students to engage in their learning at an appropriate depth.
While students are online all the time, we know that they are not necessarily engaging with the learning. As e-teachers we can no longer use simple metrics such as students who are visible or invisible online as proxies for engagement with learning on line. We propose there is a need to shift away from the Gilly Salmon type of learner, with its focus on online behaviours (particularly visibility/attendance and posting behaviours) and its placing of the moderator as responsible for changing the behaviour. Instead we argue for the need to use a new typology of learners, typified by multiple positive and negative characteristics. In this typology the learners possess multi-layered characteristics which need to be encouraged by e-teachers in order to facilitate learning.
Once we understand the typology of learners and encourage the positive characteristics we can get the depth and engagement needed for learning. The first stage in this is recognising that most learners are always online & grazing (surface learning) and the role of the e-teacher is to encourage them into engaging with a dining experience (deep learning). The second stage is identifying the characteristics of the learners (and resulting behaviours) you want.