Learning Skills for Open and Distance Learners


23 Mar 2015 13 Dec 2017

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Online learning is new type of further studies offer by higher academic learning around the world. Before higher academic learning institution offer this style of learning method, traditional learning such as class room meeting or face to face learning, part time learning and distance learning was successfully born professional worker and great management leader.

The demanding of the professional skill worker increase severely every years and the awareness about further studies by people specially adult make higher academic learning institution think the new way to support and give a opportunity to adult people to upgrade their academic qualification and upgrade their living.

The academic professional every day "burn their midnight oil" to think the new kind of learning to fulfill this adult people need and perform the best practice of learning to suit with adult people lifestyle mostly working and having own family. These academic professional lastly come out a brilliant ideas to support new learning method for adult people. The Online Learning was introduced to the open market and the result is sufficiently encouraging adult people to further their study.

According to Tham (2004), learner who evolved from distance learning and traditional face to face classroom now change to online learning method. Although this new learning method is design to suit adult learners, adult learners still have a problem especially in the first year of beginning the online learners. In this paper we will discuss about the problem faced by beginning online learners and typically try to solve it accordingly support from professional thinker facts.


In this Information Era, Computers and Internet is very important media for channeling information. It's means Online Learning method use this type of media for learning process. Academic institution use computers and internet and adding this media to create a study environmental class for their online students. This situation is look like an "invisible classroom" to the online student (Tham, 2004). According to Chen Sun (2008) to develop an integrate online learning module, it involve six dimension criteria.

To develop online method criteria, Learners, Instructors, Design, Technology, Environment and Course mix together to fulfill Online Learning methodology. Now we want to focusing one of six criteria that will be discussed with deeper and examine. Although the all six criteria important in online learning, student's capability itself to separate the five criteria that need to be prioritized. Be a beginner in online learners is a challenging because learners are compulsory to learn by itself. According to Ash (2010), online learner only spends 2 (two) hours and 15 minutes for lesson in a classroom per week and spends almost the rest of lesson virtually from home. It make sense from Tham (2004) statement "invisible classroom". Make your own learning classroom at home using the technology and educational material provide from academic institution.


Be a beginners of online learners is very challenging decision. Mostly online learners are adult working and own family person. They must add more burden thing in their live. The flexible time is the major fact adult people attract to use online learning to fulfill their dream to grab degree or master scroll, but as online learners you must deduct time for learning, working, social, family and resting yourself. Someone said financial and working condition also the problem faced by beginner online learners. These problems are happen actually before becoming online learners. These people will think and doing some research before choose online learning as their learning study method for further their education. They must settle all financial and working condition matter before enrolls with academic institution.

Now we will discuss about the problem after student enroll to academic institution and becoming online learners. The most important problem faced by beginning online learners is their mentality issue. According to Combes,(2006). The major issue in mentality problem of beginning in online learners is lack of mentality. He find out is four (4) issues on mental problems which occurred to online learners namely most isolation and lack of identity, lack of motivation, lack of confidence and anxiety.

3.1 Isolation and lack of identity

This mental issue about this mentality problem is the feeling inside when online student start enroll as online learners. When online learners start their learning process at home, actually their friend only books and personal computer in front it. What feeling inside online learners that's time is loneliness. According to Pond (1998) loneliness define "as an enduring condition of emotional distress that arises when a person feels estranged from, misunderstood, or rejected by others and or lacks appropriate social patterns for desired activities, particularly activities that provide a sense of social integration and opportunities for emotional intimacy". Online learners will not have immediate and fast access to lectures and peers when learning activities begin. No fast respond about their difficulty make online learners unhappy and the social time with their colleague also reduce due to increase time for spending in learning make loneliness or feel of isolation becoming worst. Now we learn how to overcome this problem related to online learners. According to Rosenblit, (2005) Academic institution must providing good interaction between online learners and tutor. Active peer greatly needed to always contact with online learners to help among themselves. What is most important once is every online learner should give information on this problem and understand that state and knowledge to resolve. Online learners also be encouraged to hold grouped discussion once in a while with peer to share knowledge and their problem and don't keep your problem alone.

3.2 Lack of motivation

Motivation is important mental support to achieve high quality as online learners. Motivation is consist of psychological, biological, social and cognitive cause direct behavior (Fulmer 2009). Motivation is spirit hidden inside a person. Online learner with week motivation will cause him unenterprising, often absent from class and no planning in manage self learning. Lack of motivation is a serious problem for online learners and the percentage to fail is highest. How to overcome this problem? To motivate online learners is not same with traditional learners. It because Online learners almost an adult person. They have be different approach or strategy to motivate them. They are five step to motivate learners.

3.2.1. Reward myself

People always get motivated by rewarding something. Setup a goal for yourself and reward yourself. Example, if I can finish this semester, My family and I will take a vacation to Manchester, England.

3.2.2. Make sure my course has real value

Before you start learning, make sure you choose course can reward you something very valuable. Example, if I'm get P.H.D, all my article and books will be recognize and the publishing company will offer me as a Chief Editor.

3.2.3. Help me perform better

You must relate what you learn with your working environment. If you choose course similarly with your real working environment, it make you perform better in your studies and your job.

3.2.4. Set clear expectation for the course

You must setup your mind, the course that you learn will give you new information and you will use that information later. These tips also need help by a tutor to explain what you will learn and achieves after finish it.

3.2.5. Tell me if I'm wrong

These tips also need tutor fully cooperation. You may ask your tutor to tell you if you do something wrong with your quiz, assignment or in learning process. Sometimes adult learners also need a little attention to keep them continually motivate. They technique and method to criticize online learner must be suitable. Offences criticize online learner will probably become worst.

3.3 Lack of confidence

Lack of confidence also an issue for online learners. 47.5% citing lack of confidence when they use internet for their study (Combes 2006). This student actually want more practical assistance when enroll to the academic institution. Confident means full trusts, believe in one self, abilities and reliability to think. People always said, if we have confidents, we have ability to success. How to drive up confident? They have five (5) tips to overcome this problem.

3.3.1. Find support

You have your own family and you need them now to support and understand you as online learners. Your also can find support around your peer and friend. All this combination of support can drive up your confidence back.

3.3.2. Apply your skill

You are online learners because you are working person. Try apply your working skill to your learning environment. If you working as a shift hours, it means you can work in the morning, afternoon and night. So you can take this working environment to your learning environment. You can do learning process in the morning, afternoon or at night. That is your advantage!

3.3.3. Set reasonable goal

You must set a goal for what u doing. If you now as online learners, you must set a goal to get a diploma, degree, master or P.H.D. whatever happen. Write your goal in a white board, working table or else where that easy to you to see.

3.3.4 Develop a routine

You must develop your own time management planner to arrange your study time, working time, family and resting hour. If you set a daily planner to manage your activities, please stick on it. Try to arrange activities at the same time everyday, because if you do the same thing and the same time everyday, lastly it become your routine.

3.3.5 Never stop dreaming

Dreaming is not a good thinker but sometime dreaming is good depends on the situation. Dreaming to be success is good thinker but it must follow with effort. With a high passion and never stop effort is the key to success. Online learning must dream to grab a scroll of their certificate on the stage of the high profile convocation event everyday.

3.4 Anxiety

Anxiety is feeling inside online learners if they don't well prepare. 51% experiencing anxiety when using the internet for study (combes 2006). The impact of anxiety always happen at younger online learners. According to wikipedia, Anxiety define as "psychological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive and behavioral components either the absence or presence of psychological stress, feeling of fear, worry, uneasiness and dread". In learner concept Anxiety is define as "psychological and physical response to treat a self concept characterized by subjective, consciously perceived feelings of tension"( Vitasari 2010). According to Mauri (1992), the major problem of anxiety is panic situation. How to overcome panic situation? According to Gard (1999), panic must be handles carefully before it become panic attack. These is are three (3) tips to overcome this problem.

3.4.1 Know first before deal

That mean learners must know randomly about the course and the syllabus before attending to face to face meeting. Example, work seeker also must know about the company history first before attend an interview.

3.4.2 Always relax

Learn to relax yourself when panic situation appear. Take a deep breath and exhale with your mouth slowly. Try to calm down and try to think creatively to overcome that situation. Get help if you cannot handle that situation by yourself.

3.4.3 Believe yours religious

Always pray to avoid you from panic situation. We believe all religious have their own way to overcome this panic situation.


They are many problem faced by beginner online learners. Financial and Working matter are not relevant problem by beginner online learners. The major problem is mentality issue. Isolation and lack of identity, lack of motivation, lack of confidence and anxiety are the major problem will faced all beginner online learners. To overcome isolation and lack of identity, academic institution must providing good interaction between online learners and tutors and active peer.

Five (5) tips like reward myself, make sure my course has real value, help me perform better, set clear expectation for the course and tell me if I'm wrong are the tips to overcome lack of motivation problem. They have also five (5) tips to overcome lack of confidence. Find support, apply your skill, set reasonable goal, develop a routine and never stop dreaming is the key to avoid lack of confidence. Anxiety are similarly to panic situation. Three (3) tips to overcome this problem are know first before deal, always relax and believe yours religious.


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