“I’ve built a shield around myself, I’ll finish and that’s it”: coping strategies among online students with disabilities

Abstract

Online learning offers learners the convenience and freedom to study at their own pace and place, but it also poses various obstacles for those with specific educational needs. This paper aims to delve into the subjective experiences of online learners with disabilities, focusing on how they manage the challenges encountered in asynchronous online learning. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse interviews conducted with 24 learners with physical, sensory, mental, and learning disabilities. The analysis showed that learners employ proactive coping strategies to address academic and emotional challenges, as well as critical life events, hindering their full involvement in online learning activities. Internal factors such as self-determination, self-efficacy, resilience, and problem-solving play a significant role in overcoming the difficulties associated with online study. This research provides valuable insights from learners’ perspectives that can inform the development of more effective support strategies for all students. Cultivating awareness of diversity and providing training to students on building self-belief, self-care, and problem-solving skills are highlighted as key elements for enhancing their persistence and academic success. By taking into account the experiences and needs of students with disabilities, educational stakeholders can develop tailored strategies that foster an inclusive and empowering educational experience for all.

Publication
European Journal of Special Needs Education, Advance online publication

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Citation

Reyes, J. I., Melián, E., & Meneses, J. (2024). “I’ve built a shield around myself, I’ll finish and that’s it”: coping strategies among online students with disabilities. European Journal of Special Needs Education, Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2024.2370148
José Israel Reyes
José Israel Reyes
Investigador doctoral

Investigador predoctoral del programa d’Educació i TIC de la UOC.

Efrem Melián
Efrem Melián
Investigador doctoral

Investigador predoctoral del programa d’Educació i TIC de la UOC.

Julio Meneses
Julio Meneses
Full Professor

Professor de metodologia de la investigació, director de Learning Analytics de l’eLearning Innovation Center i investigador de l’Internet Interdisciplinary Institute de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

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