Module 3.2: Distance Learners Need Discipline

  • An important behavior.  In a distance learning environment, such as this course, what one particular behavior do you think is most important for learners to acquire? 
  • As a participant in this class, use social learning theories as basis to make recommendations on how students in distance learning can help other acquire this behavior.

I think the most important behavior that distance learners should acquire is to be disciplined. Since we don’t physically go to class, we have to carve out study time from our already hectic schedules. It is so easy to postpone study time because of more urgent (but not necessarily more important) tasks. It is also easy to postpone study time for non-urgent and non-important tasks, unfortunately. That’s why a distance learner must learn how to be disciplined about making, following and adjusting schedules.

I think Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy is very helpful for acquiring this behavior. When you see your classmates posting in the forums and writing e-journals on time, it makes you think that you can do it too. It becomes inspiring especially when your classmates post about having two jobs and taking care of young children while doing distance education. Since the atmosphere of the discussion fora are always positive, I think we could also ask our disciplined classmates how they do it and learn from them. And if we are the disciplined students, it would be good to share our secrets in the fora and e-journal posts so as to inspire others. We can learn from each other when we model the good behavior of being disciplined (observational learning/modeling).

Learning from each other is especially applicable in doing groupwork. Being part of a group puts pressure to perform well for the sake of your groupmates. I am much more disciplined in dealing with groupwork than with solo tasks. I set early deadlines and make sure I do my tasks on time because my performance affects the final output of everyone in the group. Having that responsibility, and knowing that my groupmates can observe my behavior, encourages me to stay on task. The constant encouragement of classmates and the synergy of working together also motivate me to do the tasks on time.

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