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A Qualitative Look at Self-Directed Online Learning:

By Feng-ru Sheu, National Sun, Kaohsiung City, Mimi Miyoung Lee and Curtis J. Bonk


There are an endless array of open educational resources (OER), open courseware (OCW), and massive open online courses (MOOCs) available for self-directed learning pursuits. This study explores the learning experiences, including the barriers, obstacles, motivations, and successes of directed online learners. Data collection included a 43-item survey of 2 large online learning communities: (1) 1,429 newsletter subscribers of the MIT OCW initiative, and (2) 159 participants enrolled in a MOOC hosted by Blackboard using CourseSites. This is a mixed methods design. The researchers qualitatively analyzed emerging themes from open-ended survey items as well as the descriptive statistics from the closed-ended items. The findings help capture informal and self-directed learning experiences through informal education channels

Year: 2013
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