Towards an Inclusive Disaster Education: The State of Online Disaster Education from the Learner’s Perspective

Senanayake, Anuradha C., Samarakkody, Aravindi, Malalgoda, Chamindi, Amaratunga, Dilanthi, Haigh, Richard, Liyanage, Champika Lasanthi orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6687-3611, Hamza, Mo, Kaklauskas, Artūras and Shaw, Rajib (2023) Towards an Inclusive Disaster Education: The State of Online Disaster Education from the Learner’s Perspective. Sustainability, 15 (14). pp. 11042-11059.

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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) education endorses educational initiatives that advocate for reducing existing disaster risks. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged the social order around the world, including the education sector. The rise of the pandemic paved the way to significantly convert the education sector towards online/distant learning via digital platforms. Online distance learning was a challenging emergency shift for many who had to change their teaching and learning strategies. This study is an investigation of the significant challenges associated with online learning in DRR education. The objectives of the study were to consider the online learning strategies used in formal DRR education at the tertiary level and to identify the associated challenges faced by the learners. This study presents the findings of an online survey conducted as part of a research collaboration titled INCLUsive Disaster Education (INCLUDE). INCLUDE is a collaborative research project co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ program aimed to reimagine online distance learning education. The survey was conducted in the country contexts of the research partners, which include Lithuania, Japan, Sweden, and the UK, with DRR learners who are engaged in online learning. The findings suggest that Learning Management Systems, synchronous learning, and flipped classrooms are the dominant learning strategies that engage learners. The findings further suggest that challenges in online DRR education lie in inadequate ICT infrastructure and digital literacy, health-related disturbances, and professional and personal commitments that lead into learning discontinuity. Hence, the study concludes that in order to enhance the inclusivity of online DRR education, the overall social and vulnerability contexts of the learners should be considered.

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