Local Support for Online Learners with Possible Learning Disabilities

Torstein Rekkedal,
NKI Distance Education and Norwegian School of Information Technology, Norway


This article reports from a research study concerning online distance study for competence development of vocational rehabilitation clients. The students included in the study are adults with health problems participating in a rehabilitation process to re-enter into working life. As a group the students are characterized by difficulties, problems and diagnoses that for many represent learning disadvantages. The study examines the results of combining individual online distance learning with support organized by a local vocational rehabilitation enterprise. In this article student support refers to all kinds of non-academic services and help to students, and does not include any face-to-face teaching or tutoring. The amount and type of local support given and how it has been experienced by the individual student may vary between the different enterprises, dependent on their budgets, number of students in the learning room, types of programmes studied and individual needs of the local students.

The study indicates that online line study with adequate local support may constitute a good solution for this target group. Both case handlers in the Labour and Welfare Administration, local counsellors and the students themselves report positive experiences with the learning solution examined. Statistics on completions and withdrawals demonstrate that the group of potentially disadvantaged learners achieve well in online study when they receive sufficient social, technical and practical support.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

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