One of the most important features determining successful adjustment and learning in the virtual classroom (VCR) is an individual’s ability to quickly, independently, and flexibly orient oneself in the new learning environment. It means grasping the idea of information-technological resources as well as the course organization with its academic, administrative, technical, and communicational requirements. In our pilot study, we investigated this ability of twenty five students enrolled in the author’s online psychology class in 2015. The research methodology included an analysis of the students’ preparation for their study and an evaluation of correlations of these data with students' previous online experience as well as academic performance demonstrated in the course. According to the results, 1) positive correlation between students’ effective orientation and their academic performance was found, 2) negative correlation between students’ orientation and their’ online experience was found, and 3) different students’ orientation strategies were identified that allow to predict students’ success in online classes. The results’ reliability was checked and mostly confirmed using a control population of 51 students. We conclude that farther enhancement of the online courses’ design should account for the potential difficulties in orientation in the VCR. New forms of instructional support are needed to help online students, especially beginners, obtain adequate knowledge of the VCR and develop skills for orientation and it. A better understanding of the instrument of learning allows for a more productive study of the course subject.
Toom, A. (2015). A study of students' orientation in the virtual classroom. In European Conference on Education 2015, Brighton, United Kingdom: Official conference proceedings (pp. 511-525). Aichi, Japan: IAFOR.