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Humanity of learning online

The humanity of learning online

Research into online education, particularly asynchronous learning, has generated mixed findings.

While the increased availability of distance learning has made education more accessible, some scholars report online courses can lead to student feelings of “isolation” or disconnect (Croft et al., 2010, p. 31).

Stoytcheva (2021, p. 8) however, argues that learning online doesn’t have to be a lonely or detached experience. She suggests feelings of isolation can be minimised by employing “collaborative learning scenarios” and “creating conditions for the formation of an online learning community.”

You started this week by learning a little about the course educators through video. Did the video provide a more ‘human form’ of content? Did it offer ‘indicators of personality’ and authenticity of the educators? Did you feel welcomed by them?

Then, you also shared a little about yourselves on Padlet and you learned a bit more about your peers. Did these insights help develop a sense of community for you?

Croft et al., (2010), in their interviews and workshops with students, find that learners desire a “human dimension” to learning. They want educators to “put into place a variety of practices to ‘humanise’ the online distance learning courses” so that they consist of:

  • Choice
  • Collaborative tasks and activities
  • Friendly welcome
  • Multimedia learning
  • Opportunities to participate
  • Photographs and biographies
  • Social networking etc.

(Stoytcheva, 2021; Croft et al., 2015)

Your task

Watch the video of Brinder and Annie sharing their views on what they describe as ‘injecting the humanity into online learning.’ Then, respond to one of the following in the comments area below:
Share your views on the notion of ‘humanising’ online learning supported with rationale
Tell us what has helped you to stay engaged with learning online and why.


Croft, N., Dalton, A., & Grant, M. (2010). Overcoming Isolation in Distance Learning: Building a Learning Community through Time and Space. The Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 5(1), 27-64. Locate link

Stoytcheva, M. (2021). Developing a sense of belonging in a collaborative distance learning course: Breaking isolation in online learning. AIP Conference Proceedings, 2333(1), AIP conference proceedings, 2021-03-08, Vol.2333 (1). Locate link

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