Over the weekend I attended a BBQ with my family and a few other families. It was a friendly environment, lots of food, drink and laughter. I want to share with you a short conversation I had.

The usual topic of ‘what do you do for a living’ came up, and I struck up a conversation with a guy who was a tradie and had recently started an engineering degree. After chatting a bit, I discovered he is doing it via distance and with a reputable Queensland university. I also discovered they were using a Moodle (as well), so it was interesting to listen to what his experiences have been like to date.

He’d been studying for about a year and indicated there were about 200 other students studying with him, some distance some lecture based.

It was interesting to hear that similar struggles still exist with learning via distance that I experienced when I did my first online course, and it’s not the content.

Time and Feedback seem to be the main items. Lecturers that are used to delivering to a theatre full of students, on a face to face basis struggle with delivering online as well. Students working full-time and have a family / life outside of study don’t fit into this model, so this makes it a challenge.

He said forums are good, but only a hand full of people would use them, others may read the forums, but they don’t contribute. Could this be based on fear or social culture? As I’ve mentioned in my book, the seven year education itch, fear and social culture make the 5 issues that adult learners can face when studying online.

He also mentioned that some presentations or lectures aren’t uploaded for a few days after the event, this can be a disadvantage to the student studying via distance.

Needless to say, a few wines and beers later, I think we started solving the worlds problems, but still a very interesting conversation!

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