A framework for supporting ESL learners studying via telematic learning systems
Bangeni, Nwabisa Josephine
MetadataShow full item record
Success in ESL learning has been shown to be influenced by individual differences, and that based on those differences, students exhibit varying rates and levels of success. With learning shifting from being instruction-based to being learner-based, the profiling of students has become important in order to understand how the characteristics which students bring to the learning situation affect their performance. Knowing and understanding the learner in distance education settings is even more complex because of the physical and temporal separation which characterises distance education. However, it is important to profile students in order to address the high rates of attrition/drop out and/or failure that plague higher education, both distance and on-campus . The measures intended to effect successful learning in distance education can best be provided through a comprehensive support system, which is designed for a specific type of student population, based on their profiles. The purpose of this study was to design a framework through which a distance learner support system could be provided, based on the factors that were found to affect the failure/drop out or success of ESL distance students, on students' indication of services they would like to be provided, and based on the capacity to which the PU for CHE distance learning unit, TLS, felt they could provide support services to distance learners. The personal factors affecting attrition/drop out and/or failure were found to be the following: * Demographic variables; * Affective variables; * Learning styles; * Metacognitive variables; and * Learning strategies. The contextual variables affecting attrition/drop out and/or failure included: * The microsystem; * The macrosystem; and * The mesosystem. The results of this study indicated that students' support needs included: * Administrative support; * Academic support; and * Relational support. With regard to the support services offered by TLS, the following results were found: * The implementation strategy needs better co-ordination among all university departments involved in distance education; * Support provision needs to be conducted by specialised departments (i.e., administrative support mainly by TLS, academic support mainly by academic faculties and lecturers, and relational support mainly by specialised professionals); and that * One of the most important factors in providing support is accountability. A framework was designed for the provision of support services for distance learners based on the findings of the study. The framework outlines the types of support that need to be provided, the degree of support needed at each academic level, when support ought to be provided, the description of each type of support, who ought to provide that support, and how it will be delivered to distance learners. The study was conducted on ESL students, and the framework was designed based on the needs of ESL students. However, the use of the framework need not be confined to ESL distance learners, as it was the intention of this study that the framework be relevant for all distance learners.
- Humanities