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Module A ButtonTopic A2.1: Your Student Audience

Online learners are generally a different population than those who attend face-to-face classes. According to California State University at Fullerton, successful distance learning students:

Are self-directed, mature, disciplined, and highly motivated people who can work independently with only a minimum amount of face-to-face contact or support from faculty and a minimum amount of interaction with other students.

Assume full responsibility for organizing a highly personalized study plan and for adhering strictly to that plan to ensure individual efficiency and successful learning in the distance learning course.


Also, the following demographics of distance learning students might be of interest as you develop and teach online courses:

Approximately 50% are over 30 years of age.

Fewer than 25% are 18-22 years of age.

About 50% are married with at least one child.

Slightly more than 75% are working in part- or full-time jobs.

About 75% are degree-seeking students.

Approximately 75% have taken some college courses prior to enrolling in distance learning courses.

Consider how adult learners are also different from younger students, as noted by Moore & Kearsley, 2000:

Adults take more responsibility for their education and are more self-directed.

Adults draw on their personal experience and appreciate it being viewed as a valuable resource for problem solving.

Adults like to make decisions about what to learn, when, where and how.

Adults require less motivation to learn from external sources.

Approximately 75% have taken some college courses prior to enrolling in distance learning courses.


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