Creating an online educational resource to support learners navigate their studies alongside work and/or family

Waterhouse, Philippa and Moller, Naomi (2023). Creating an online educational resource to support learners navigate their studies alongside work and/or family. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (Early access).

Abstract

As labour markets undergo rapid and profound transformations, lifelong learning is essential to ensure a responsive, competitive, and skilled workforce. Mature learners are a diverse group, but in comparison to their younger student counterparts, are more likely to have employment and/or caring responsibilities. This field note discusses the development and features of a novel online open educational resource, called ‘At a crossroads: navigating work and/or family alongside study’ (‘At a crossroads’ for brevity). The resource aims to assist university students to both learn about the support options available to them as well as to consider how they themselves might make decisions if they experience a conflict between their student/work/family roles. ‘At a crossroads’ is innovative in terms of how it was developed (i.e., via survey-based research, story completion methods and consultations sessions with tertiary students) and in terms of what it is (i.e., an online interactive that incorporates short dramatizations, social polls and opportunities to reflect). Our experience in developing this resource has caused us to consider how resources designed to be engaging, informative and to encourage positive changes are made must be part of the solution. This is especially so in a context in which there is significant concern around the overall wellbeing of tertiary students and their course completion rates. While universities are attempting to offer a range of tools to support their students ‘on demand’ resources that are online like ‘At a crossroads’ are easily accessed, free to use and deliver content in an engaging manner.

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