Facilitating and Dealing with Learner Differences in the Online Classroom

Donovan A. McFarlane

APA 6th edition
McFarlane, D.A. (2012). Facilitating and Dealing with Learner Differences in the Online Classroom. European Journal of Educational Research, 1(1), 1-12. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.1.1.1

McFarlane D.A. 2012 'Facilitating and Dealing with Learner Differences in the Online Classroom', European Journal of Educational Research , vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-12. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.1.1.1

Chicago 16th edition
McFarlane, Donovan A. . "Facilitating and Dealing with Learner Differences in the Online Classroom". (2012)European Journal of Educational Research 1, no. 1(2012): 1-12. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.1.1.1


This paper explores the challenges faced by teachers and educators in the online classroom, especially in light of existing learner differences among students stemming from intelligence, socioeconomic status (SES), culture, gender, among other factors. The author examines the characteristics of the online classroom and looks at learner differences as significant factors impacting teacher responsibilities in the online setting. Several challenges common to facilitated online learning (FOL) and independent online learning (IOL) in the online classroom are examined and brought into perspective as the author applies social science theories such as self-efficacy, multiple intelligences theory, social distance theory and comparative homogeneity, pedagogy and classroom management theories in analyzing and addressing these challenges. The author makes several recommendations for online teachers and educators to address the problems and challenges that are present in the online classroom and then explores the implications for teaching and learning. Finally, the author espouses a need for research into the major issue under discussion.

Keywords: Facilitated online learning (fol), independent online learning (iol), online classroom, presence, school climate, school culture, pedagogy, computer mediated learning (cml), socioeconomic status (ses), efficacy