A colleague has studied on an Open University course based around physical and mental wellbeing. This course was to them “extra-curricular” as they are currently employed in IT and are looking to move into setting up practice as a sports therapist.
As a general rule, they would try and organise their studies around free-time, working back to aims and goals of the course, assigning time as the “needs” of the course dictated. They did find this a challenge especially when evening and weekends are busy with family life.
Their motivation in taking the course was to be able to change career path, this type of course offered the flexibility that they needed to be able to work, have a family life, and continue educational practice.
They liked the flexibility of the learning. They enjoyed the freedom that came with this, although they did suggest that it was difficult to engage with the course once a “break” in online activity had taken place, due to family or business needs. They felt that there was a lot of support from their tutors at the OU, and the OU systems they use have an intuitive design, they also enjoyed the learning pathway and process the OU system provide.
The colleague in question did suggest they felt their learning was a mix of surface and deep learning, based around the topics that they were interested in the most. With subject matter that they had either met or covered previously easy to dismiss or spend less time working on.
My thoughts on this would be that no matter how hard we try to engage users, this loss of “learning appetite” for subjects or topics will happen online as it does in face to face learning activities, perhaps more so in the online learning world, due to competing factors for user time and attention.