Net generation distance learners and patterns of their digital technology use

Ramanau, Ruslan; Jones, Chris and Hosein, Anesa (2011). Net generation distance learners and patterns of their digital technology use. In: IADIS International Conference on E-Learning, 20-23 Jul 2011, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

This paper reports on the results of a two-year study carried out in five different universities in the UK on different facets of learner experiences of digital technology use. Two self-completion surveys were administered– one in the beginning and another one towards the end of the academic year. The results showed that distance learners aged 25 years of age and younger were a distinct demographic group, in so far as they displayed some characteristics and behaviours typical of students of the same age group, but studying in a place-based university, while in terms of other characteristics they were more akin to older distance learners. The differences between distance learners of different age groups were fewer towards the end of the year, which stresses the impact of university experience in analyzing student learning. Limitations of the study and its implications are considered in the light of their likely significance for research and practice in the field.

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