ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.

com/

Student Learning Profiles and Motivation
When I –a current b-learning instructor- think of the characteristics of my present-day students at the university, and the ones I had in previous terms, in blended learning scenarios, they have very distinctive personality features and aptitudes to cope with. Their basic characteristics can be analyzed in the following chart: Characteristic 1 Background Description  Some students are part-time or full-time workers in diverse working fields either linked or not to their majors in college. 2 Technology experience  Technology-wise, our students are much more into social media applications or communication-mediated pages (such as

facebook), but lack lots of experience in
online learning platforms. 3 Language  College students’ first language is mostly Spanish, and they take hybrid learning

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

courses in an L2 [English], which is part of their study programs. 4 Prior online experiences  Learners are not used to taking online / blended courses, so they mostly lack the know-how. In our blended learning language courses, students have to be guided in the first of all courses, so they can feel confident with the LMS and then continue to work on it in subsequent languages classes they need to take. 5 Software experience  Students’ tech experience is optimal when it comes to the usual software in PCs, laptops, tablets, and phones. But when it comes to using software that is beyond the “Windows-Mac” domain, they are sometimes helpless. 6 Demographics  Learners’ age group in class ranges from 18 – 25, but it is usual to have students whose age group is older or much more mature; we find people in their thirties, forties, or even more. 7 Type of motivation  You do encounter students who are intrinsically-motivated and whose learning is connected to their life. However, you also find students who are extrinsically-

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

motivated or who simply lack motivation. 8 Type of learning  Several students are problem-centered learners, but others are project-based “apprentices.” Others are not really sure what their preferred learning style is.  Many of our college students lack a rationale for learning, and that is why the setting of clear expectations is vital for them.  In terms of language teaching, learning is geared towards linking language with personal experience. In other fields, it may be the same or it may differ exponentially.  Many learners are self-directed and control their learning; others need to be guided from the beginning to the end in the learning process.  Many do feel responsible for their learning, but still today many others blame their professors for their won failure. Having in mind this sketchy analysis of university students, the instructor needs to look for functional and applicable, fitting strategies to incorporate

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

into our courses to motivate students, especially the ones who are not intrinsically-driven in terms of their education. To work on student learning motives to fully enhance their learning, instructors ought to try the strengthening of the community of learning and some sort of peer-review. Motivation Strategies Community of learning  Setting Strategy Rationale the ground and for the creation, of the nourishment, strengthening

students’ community learning where they interact actively with peers and instructors.  A source of new insights provided by course participants with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  A source of for learning learners from and a win-win perspective instructors

because of true communication among them.  No hierarchical order is present in the online class since or gender differences prevail. All participants [including the instructor] are seen equally important for the learning equation. Peer Reviews  Group or team work doesn’t have to be graded equally. Participation of members can be unequal and unfair.  Empowering students to grade their partners’ work is a way to motivate all team members to

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

do their best to comply with their part of the project or assignment.  Peer reviews allow students to work out their differences, a negotiation [soft] skill necessary in life and in their working fields.  Setting the expectations for group or team work from the beginning can give students a model of participation, collaboration, and achievement of goals during a course. By and by, knowing your students’ technology and learning profiles provide you with a great advantage over those instructors who lack this knowledge. Getting to know your learners’ background, technology experience, language use in learning platforms, their prior online learning experiences, software experience, demographics, type of motivation, and type of learning can help us instructors to find ways to highly motivate students to participate, become responsible for their learning, and succeed in an online course.

 To fully develop and comprehend this teaching issue, it’s advisable to research and expand these areas:

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

1 2 3 4 5

Dealing with conflicts in online learning Communities of learning How to motivate students in online courses How to empower learners in online learning Grouping strategies in VLEs

Professor Jonathan Acuña-Solano ELT Instructor & Trainer based in Costa Rica NCTE-Costa Rica Member Resource Teacher at CCCN Senior ELT Professor at Universidad Latina Freelance ELT Consultant four OUP in Central America For further comments or suggestions, reach me at: @jonacuso – Twitter jonacuso@gmail.com – Gmail Other blogs and sites I often write for my students at the university are:

1. Pronunciation 1
3. Pronunciation 2

2. Readding Skills 1
4. Computering Applications in Education

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

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