To prepare university students for the challenges of online learning, academic scholars from Ashford University developed and wrote, “The R-Model for Learning Online and Achieving Lifelong Goals.”
The new book walks students through all facets of the online education experience. Following are the basic principles to achieving online learning success:
• Relevance – Flex your thinking and learning muscles by listening and being open to new ideas, accepting feedback and asking questions in your Web dialogue. These activities will increase the relevancy of your classes.
• Readiness – Lifelong learning requires you to be self-directed and self-motivated. Make your decision to return to school based on self knowledge, not just from the encouragement of others.
• Readiness II – So important, it was written twice. Quickly understand the writing process and your class’ writing requirements. As an online student, writing is your sole means of actively participating, building relationships and demonstrating active learning in an online environment.
• Restructuring – Rearrange your life so that you have time to devote to your studies. Online learning removes the travel, parking and childcare issues related to driving to a brick-and-mortar campus, but there is no getting around the fact that you will have to carve out time to read, write, think and interact with instructors and peers.
• Reasoning – Sharpen your critical thinking skills by identifying and challenging assumptions and exploring alternatives. As an online student, you are expected to engage in this higher-order of thinking.
• Response – Discover which type of learner you are – visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Becoming an engaged learner requires that you recognize techniques that develop and support your learning style.
• Resources – Use the course syllabus to identify the overall purpose of the class and what you should learn or be able to perform by the end of the course. Within your degree program, look for ways in which learning in one course leads to or builds on learning from other courses.
• Relationships - Online learning should never be an isolating experience. Many students use social networking platforms as part of their daily lives and see the online classroom environment as an extension of their private lives.
• Reflection - Apply what you learn to a new setting. Reflective activities allow you to clarify what you’ve learned, formulate intentions and solidify plans for meaningful growth and change.