Students with either specific learning disabilities or with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Perceptions of self as learner in online courses at Florida Virtual School and in the traditional learning environment
Theresa L. Smouse, University of Central Florida, United States
University of Central Florida . Awarded
In this study the perception of self as learner of students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) and those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was investigated with regard to their experiences in online and traditional mathematics and science courses. Students who had completed at least one mathematics or science course at Florida Virtual School were surveyed. Six basic constructs were addressed: feelings of success; level of comfort; relationship with teachers; and access to, communication with, and feedback from teachers; and advantages and disadvantages of each learning environment. Parent interviews and anecdotal evidences were also included as data informing the results of this study.
The results of this study showed that students in the SLD, ADHD, and Regular Student groups felt that the online learning environment provided them, as a learner, with the greatest number of advantages. (1) A greater number of students reported feeling successful in the online environment. (2) The majority of students in all groups reported feeling comfortable in the online learning environment, 98% as compared to 65% in traditional environment. Student comfort in both environments was most frequently related to some element of the environment with a high percentage of mention of disruption caused by peers. (3) Students reported having positive relationships with their online teachers to a higher degree than with their traditional teachers. (4) Students generally felt that access to, communication with, and feedback from instructors, in the online environment had the greatest impact on them and the impact was positive. (5) The most frequently mentioned advantages of the online environment were flexibility of time, pace, and place of learning. Students liked being in control of the time, place, and pace of their learning in the online environment and perceived issues with socialization (or lack of) as the greatest disadvantage of the online environment. In the traditional environment students felt that the presence of their peers for social interaction and academic interaction as the greatest advantage. The disadvantages in the traditional environment were issues related to time, pace, and place of learning, and with disruptions caused by other students.
Smouse, T.L. Students with either specific learning disabilities or with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Perceptions of self as learner in online courses at Florida Virtual School and in the traditional learning environment. Ph.D. thesis, University of Central Florida.
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