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Learner autonomy and learner interaction: what can we learn?

Guest blogger Professor Stephen Brown

Fengwei Cai and Xiaobo (Carol) Luo, visiting scholars from Open University China gave a lively presentation this week on their research plans for the next four moths at the UoL CDE. Both research projects are focused around enhancing distance learner performance, with Fengwei investigating ways of improving learner autonomy and self regulation, while Carol is examining ways of enhancing student interaction with tutors and peers.

Presenter in front of projection screen.
Autonomy and self regulated learning are prominent features of successful distance education

Fengwei Cai and Xiaobo (Carol) Luo, visiting scholars from Open University China each gave a lively presentation this week on their research plans for the next four months at the UoL CDE. Both research projects are focused around enhancing distance learner performance, with Fengwei investigating ways of improving learner autonomy and self regulation, while Carol is examining ways of enhancing student interaction with tutors and peers. For OUC, with 3.59 million undergraduate students (more than the whole of the UK undergraduate population) spread right across the People’s Republic of China, but with experience of offering distance learning courses only since 2015, these are topics of vital importance. However the knowledge transfer process is expected to work both ways because, despite University of London's long history (150 years) of distance learning provision, student engagement in the online learning environment is still imperfectly understood. These studies raise important research questions of interest to both institutions, such as how important is engagement, is it equally important for all kinds of learners, how do students feel about it, and do their attitudes change with growing competence and autonomy as self regulated learners? Over the next 4 months Fengwei and Carol will be examining a range of approaches exemplified by different UoL distance learning programmes and talking to staff and students to gain their insights into these issues. For further information or if you would like to help our visitors, please contact Linda Amrane-Cooper.

Presenter in front of projection screen.
Interactions engage learners and support knowledge co-construction

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