Written by Megan Veech
"Can online education be better than classroom learning?"
This was the headline for an article I came across featuring online learning. Before I considered reading the article, I asked myself that question. I then decided that my answer was an obvious "no". Classroom learning is where inquiry and innovation are the basis for student environment. Therefore, hands-on classroom learning should never be replaced. Instead, why not provide an array of learning options for students and teachers?
I happened to stumble upon another article that takes a look at online learning at a different perspective. The writer states that online learning is a growing trend and is being seen increasingly in a number of situations. As said in Three Myths of Online Learning, "Social media tools are letting people interact online – sharing content, providing feedback, and building connections – in ways that are sometimes even richer than what they can do in the physical world." The phrase "word of mouth" has taken on a whole new meaning. With social media tools, content may go viral within minutes, making the connection or marketing piece even more valuable.
But, because many people still value the long-established classroom setting, assumptions have been made about online learning. Let’s go over the three most common myths discussed in the article:
1. "Online learning is impersonal." Well, as mentioned before, online learning isn’t as personal as classroom engagement. But with constant technology improvements, e-learners can see one another through webcams and other devices and communicate through the use of voice systems, polls, open responses, and online conferencing software – all around the world.
2. "Online learning is unengaging." As mentioned in the article, by introducing other media such as video in an on-demand format, online learning can be just as informational and appealing. For example, would you rather listen to someone speak through the computer for more than five minutes? Or, would you rather watch that person take you into a classroom during a hands-on activity to give you an idea of how the materials are used?
3. "Online content is limited to serving low-level training needs." Online education is quickly becoming another tool in today’s digital age. High school students, college students, teachers, and executives are grasping on to this valuable resource.
There will always be a constant demand for education. Online learning is yet another way of delivery that can now be, "Anytime, Anywhere."