Identifying competencies for taking online courses successfully
Successful online learning if we look outside the didactics but in the field of personal development, from the anthropological bases, is in learner’s identification as an active subject of the learning process.
Activities that online learners perform correlate with the characteristics of the subjectness that researchers revealed: spotting one’s own gaps in the educational environment and one’s educational needs, satisfying them and enhancing one’s competence by means of online learning (ability to change the environment and oneself inside that, reflexive way of life, realizing the principle of development), searching, selecting and studying online courses on one’s own, supported first and foremost by the intrinsic motivation (initiative), ability to plan and analyze one’s activity or inaction in the course, managing the requirements and the deadlines of the assignments, as well as readiness to accept the consequences of one’s choice (responsibility).
Therefore, successful online learners (those who study on their own, cope with the tasks in time and in a proper way, achieve expected results) are characterized with such a subjectness that is based on a set of general-cultural and general-professional competencies that should be formed.
To define the set of competencies, which an online learner needs to become successful and to study learners’ attitude to them, we have done a competency-based test (self-assessment questionnaire) in September - November 2017. The respondents were 2060 learners from TSU online courses offered on three e-learning platforms (population is 80938).
Learners responded that the following general-cultural competencies are of much help for them in online learning: readiness to self-development, self-realization and using one’s own creativity (69,7%), ability to organize and educate oneself (53,3%), ability to acquire new scientific and professional knowledge using modern educational and informational technologies (62,3%), as well as ability to imply means and methods of learning and self-control over one’s intellectual development, increasing one’s cultural level and professional competence (50,2%).
Among general-professional competencies the learners replied that the most useful competencies for online learning are computer skills for receiving, processing and managing information (79,5%), ability to work with the main retrieval query systems (60,2%), ability to search for scientific information, perform its critical analysis, to set research objectives and choosing appropriate methods and technologies to achieve them (59,3%), ability to critically analyze the learning process and training materials from the point of view of their effectiveness (54%) and ability to use polite manners in oral and written speech (21,9%). At the same time, the respondents define general-cultural competencies as more significant.
Therefore, the survey results proved our idea that successful online learning requires firstly, a set of general-cultural competences (those which are connected to the learner’s personal development and his/ her subjectness in the learning process) and secondly, a set of general-professional competencies to be formed. This led us to the idea that assessing learner’s level of the general-cultural competences we can predict his/ her future success in taking online courses.