What does your Personal Theory of Online Learning/Teaching connect to what you are examining in Distance Education research? How well supported does your personal theory feel? What research could you do in order to support your theory? What methods would you employ? Please share empirical studies you are starting to collect and detail what sort of citation management system or tool you will be using to organize your literature review (see Week 2 for resources related to this topic). Additionally, feel free to explain one or two supporting papers that align with how you are approaching your distance learning research for your study.
My personal theory of online learning is it is an individual choice as to whether online learning works for a particular person, at a particular time. For an adult who travels or works in another city or state, online learning may be their only option. For example, I once worked as a contractor project manager in New Jersey, while maintaining a residence in Texas. I was in New Jersey during the week, and in Texas each weekend. While I preferred to take live classes to further my education in Texas, it was more practical to take online courses. In this particular case, I took two online courses from two different colleges in two different states simultaneously because that met my needs at the time. However, now that I am back in Texas permanently, I enrolled in the residential format for the PhD in Learning Technologies. There is at least one study suggesting that face-to-face learning in more effective, U.S. Department of Education (2010).
The topic I am exploring the effectiveness of online learning in mathematics for adult learners. This doesn’t necessarily involve higher education, but job-related skills needed for advancement or just someone wanting to improve their math skills. To determine how effective online learning of mathematics is for adult learners, I will prepare an online survey and send it out to a group who has agreed to take online surveys. I will also attempt to gather information from open online courses, such as The Khan Academy, to find out what feedback they may have received. In addition, I can poll online math instructors from UNT. This could also include courses in statistics. Finally, I will conduct a literature review of at least ten articles on the subject.
I typically use Mendeley to manage citations, and sometimes use a citation tool such as Citation Machine, to save time in preparing a citation properly. The survey will be designed to provide a range of answers that can be coded into quantitative results, so as to be to perform a range of statistical analysis. This will serve to lend credibility to the results.
U.S. Department of Education (2010). Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf