Washington, Feb 27 : Online courses may be very popular among busy adults, but not everyone can successfully learn through them, says a new study.
The study was conduced by Shawna L. Strickland, clinical assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions, who analysed the demographics and personality types of distance learners.
According to her, the correlations between this form of learning and success is inconclusive, adding that lack of institutional support and taking the courses alone at home requires a person to be determined and responsible.
"Correlations between learning styles and success in distance education have shown to be inconclusive," she said.
"However, one common theme reappears: the successful traits of a distance learner are similar to the successful traits of an adult learner in traditional educational settings.
"The success of distance learning is dependent on communication among the learner, his or her peers and the instructor. To encourage success in distance learning, it is necessary to evaluate each individual's needs on a case-by-case basis."
One trait that does help is personality type, with quiet, introverted personalities more likely to feel comfortable with online learning courses.
"Distance learning allows the learner to overcome traditional barriers to learning such as location, disabilities, time constraints and familial obligations. However, not every learner will be successful in a distance learning environment."
The study - "Understanding Successful Characteristics of Adult Learners" - was published in the most recent edition of Respiratory Care Education Annual.