E-instructors say what should happen, and what actually happens, in online learning very different

Online instructors weigh in on what should come first in online learning, what admin could better support

online-instructor-perceptionThere are a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to online learning best practices, especially from think-tanks and interested admin looking to expand an institution’s offerings…but what do the actual instructors say is important? And are these expectations being met?

According to The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, a survey reached out to hundreds of instructors from 20 universities in Taiwan—which hosts one of the best research universities in the world and is one of the fastest growing adopters of online learning–on what they perceived were the most important skills to master for online teaching, and whether or not they actually acted on those skills during teaching.

The survey, which aimed to measure the difference between what e-instructors believed was important versus what they actually put into practice, showed that some perceptions of skills needed mirrored what was implemented in class, but many differed drastically. The reasons? Lack of administrative support and lack of training.

The authors of the report say that it’s important to look at what online instructors believe is important versus what they actually implement, since the success of online learning hinges on the skills of its teachers; unfortunately, not a lot of research currently exists on the beliefs of instructors about, and their roles in, online learning.

“This [area] which has been seldom addressed [reveals that]…A gap exists between ideal and practical roles of e-instructors in higher education,” explain Chiungsui Chang of Tamkang University, and Hun-Yi Shen and Eric Zhi-Feng Liu of National Central University. “Role perceptions and role-based practices of e-instructors in higher education differ significantly in terms of teaching experience.

The authors hope that the findings of the survey can have a global impact, shedding light on what e-instructors believe is critical for online learning success, and the barriers to current implementation.

(Next page: The interesting findings)