Distance Learning and Motivation
If educational programs are to be successful, they must take the motivation of the students into account. This is true for traditional courses, but even more so for online education programs.
In programs where they feel vulnerable and insecure, and where life achievements are not honored, students have a tendency to revert developmentally, particularly in self-confidence and self-esteem.
If students have to spend a long time working on papers that support their professors' research projects rather than explore subjects of their own choosing, and if they are expected to take equal lockstep courses, they draw less benefits from their education.
Students tend to learn and develop more in programs that are student-centered rather than faculty-centered. When students are asked what they need to learn, when they feel protected in classes, when they are involved in exercises that are interesting and fun, and when lessons are focused on current needs, students of all backgrounds and ages learn fast and efficiently.
By designing distance learning programs that build (rather than destroy) students' confidence and that meet their needs, educators can be the enablers of lifelong learning.
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