Final Report Year One – Factors Introduced in Main Study

In creating three samples from the survey it aids in the broadening out of the respondent demographic to address the representation of informal learners interested in open courses that may produce three similar or different results. From these results, themes across all three samples may be determined, or it may be determined that each sample approaches informal learning differently so therefore has different needs for building and sustaining engagement to completion.

It is also possible that each of the three samples may have a very different response rate, meaning that themes may be detected in larger response rates and not in smaller ones, or that it may be difficult to compare a small sample with a much larger one. In this situation it is proposed that a random sample of equal size is taken from each of the three sets and the data from this is analysed also.

As part of the survey there will be an opportunity for participants to enter an email address if they wish to participate in further research. From the data gathered the provision of contact information creates the further exploration of themes or anomalies that will become apparent from the findings either with a secondary survey or in a telephone interview. At present this research is an unknown entity as the three platforms have not been survey in regards to learning engagement before either individually or collectively for comparison. The surveys will be hosted through Qualtrics from which the numerical data will be analysed through SPSS and the narrative data to be analysed using the protocols of content analysis.

In the hosting of three separate (yet identical) surveys on Qualtrics, it will ensure that the three samples are kept separate for comparison studies and each set to be labelled numerically to give the platform surveyed anonymity as well as the participants within. As noted previously it is expected that the goals for engaging with the courses will be extrinsically different, therefore it is hypothesised that the level of engagement with the individual elements of the course and the course as a whole with the view of completion, will be different with the learners on different completion trajectories dependent on external pressures (such as work and study related deadlines).The data groups can then be combined for additional collective analysis to understand as a collective the data isolated to determine if other factors affect levels of engagement such as age or types of technology used to access the courses.

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