Use of Online Learning Resources in the Development of Learning Environments at the Intersection of Formal and Informal Learning: The Student as Autonomous Designer

  • Maja Lebeničnik
  • Ian Pitt
  • Andreja Istenič Starčič
Keywords: higher education, e-learning activities, online learning resources, teacher education, Universal Design for Learning

Abstract

Learning resources that are used in the education of university students are often available online. The nature of new technologies causes an interweaving of formal and informal learning, with the result that a more active role is expected from students with regard to the use of ICT for their learning. The variety of online learning resources (learning content and learning tools) facilitates informed use and enables students to create the learning environment that is most appropriate for their personal learning needs and preferences. In contemporary society, the creation of an inclusive learning environment supported by ICT is pervasive. The model of Universal Design for Learning is becoming increasingly significant in responding to the need for inclusive learning environments. In this article, we categorize different online learning activities into the principles of Universal Design for Learning. This study examines ICT use among university students (N = 138), comparing student teachers with students in other study programs. The findings indicate that among all students, activities with lower demands for engagement are most common. Some differences were observed between student teachers and students from other programs. Student teachers were more likely than their peers to
perform certain activities aimed at meeting diverse learner needs, but the percentage of students performing more advanced activities was higher for students in other study programs than for student teachers. The categorization of activities revealed that student teachers are less likely to undertake  activities that involve interaction with others. Among the sample
of student teachers, we found that personal innovativeness is correlated with diversity of activities in only one category. The results show that student teachers should be encouraged to perform more advanced activities, especially activities involving interaction with others, collaborative learning and use of ICT to plan and organize their own learning processes.

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Published
2015-06-30