International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Current impact factor: 0.69
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Publications in this journal
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ABSTRACT: Professional learning, combining formal and on the job learning, is important for the development and maintenance of expertise in the modern workplace. To integrate formal and informal learning, professionals have to have good self-regulatory ability. Formal learning opportunities are opening up through massive open online courses (MOOCs), providing free and flexible access to formal education for millions of learners worldwide. MOOCs present a potentially useful mechanism for supporting and enabling professional learning, allowing opportunities to link formal and informal learning. However, there is limited understanding of their effectiveness as professional learning environments. Using self-regulated learning as a theoretical base, this study investigated the learning behaviours of health professionals within Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, a MOOC offered by edX. Thirty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed to explore how the design of this MOOC supported professional learning to occur. The study highlights a mismatch between learning intentions and learning behaviour of professional learners in this course. While the learners are motivated to participate by specific role challenges, their learning effort is ultimately focused on completing course tasks and assignments. The study found little evidence of professional learners routinely relating the course content to their job role or work tasks, and little impact of the course on practice. This study adds to the overall understanding of learning in MOOCs and provides additional empirical data to a nascent research field. The findings provide an insight into how professional learning could be integrated with formal, online learningInternational Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 11/2015; 15(5):197-213.
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ABSTRACT: Drawing upon cultural-historical activity theory, this research analyzed the structural contradictions existing in a variety of educational activities among a group of alienated adult students in Korea National Open University (KNOU). Despite KNOU’s quantitative development in student enrollment, the contradictions shed light on how the institution’s top-down, bureaucratic pedagogical system collided with individual expectations and needs. In particular, the participants’ critical viewpoints demonstrate the incompatible social roles that the open and distance higher education institution plays in Korean society. For example, while KNOU contributes to extending higher education opportunities for those who have unmet educational needs, the value of the KNOU degree has not been socially acknowledged since there is little, if any, competition in the entrance process. This study also documents how these contradictions were culturally and historically embedded in the participants’ distance higher education activities. Given the persistent contradictions, the research findings illuminate that KNOU’s efficiency-oriented model has not effectively facilitated the students’ learning as its distance higher education system is inevitably based on a compromise between a competitive, quality curriculum and the efficient extension of audiences.International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 02/2014; 15(1):41-61.
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