Making changes to education is no simple task. Deviations from traditional learning models are often met with resistance, while introducing new technologies or methods often rely on systemic change. Despite challenges, online learning is making tremendous progress when it comes to infiltrating all pillars of education, from corporate learning, to higher education, to K-12 schooling. Leaders in these spaces have discovered some significant ways in which online learning is better than in-person learning, and as a result, we’re seeing widespread implementation of connected technology to drive education initiatives.
If you’re considering moving to online learning solutions, it’s important to know why. What are the advantages of online learning over in-person learning that is attracting leaders in business and education?
Online learning comes in so many different forms.
A common misconception of online learning is that it is too static a format for education. Those unfamiliar with elearning may be unaware of the wide variety of ways it can be delivered to audiences ranging from one person to thousands. There are so many different forms of online learning, from MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), to online tutoring, to online components of blended learning courses. Creators of online education material are now designing with individual needs as well as organizational outcomes in mind.
Without online learning, there is no blended learning.
Blended learning is gaining steam within academia and it is moving quickly into the corporate space as HR leaders, learning professionals, and heads of talent realize its potential. Regardless of the specific type of blended learning we’re discussing, it has two parts: in-person and online. Without the latter, there is no blended learning.
Online learning spaces are more capable than physical ones.
Online environments are dynamic. They can be instantly altered to reflect new learning initiatives or updated to include new, more relevant information. Changing physical learning environments and materials may involve structural change, such as a classroom revamp, while rewriting traditional education material, like textbooks and manuals, is expensive and time consuming.
Digital is better for impaired learners.
We’ve arrived at an exciting place in technological development, where builders of elearning tech can introduce tools for learners with visual and aural impairments more easily than ever before. For instance, in a digital classroom, online tutors now have access to a plethora of communication tools, from writing instruments, to voice and visual communication, to text chat. These spaces are designed to bend to the needs of different instructors and students, including those who may be visually or hearing impaired. On the corporate and academic certificate sides, elearning courses are creating new opportunities for impaired learners by building software that is compatible with all native accessibility features, such as voiceover, on-screen captions, and magnifying tools.
Society is digital, so learning should be, too.
We live in a world where nearly everyone carries a connected device almost all of the time. Our workplaces rely on digital technology for success and there are more and more one-to-one schools every year. By learning using the same devices they use in their day-to-day lives and in their jobs, students and employees become more equipped for success in all aspects. In other words, elearning trains people using the tools and media that reflect society.
Elearning courses ensure pedagogical consistency.
For large organizations, ensuring their people have the consistent knowledge and understanding of the company, its culture, and its practices, is vitally important. This means that educational material must be pedagogically consistent. Well-designed online learning delivers the same information in the same format to every single person who takes the course.
Flexible pacing and scheduling is better.
Whether it’s an online course for hundreds of people or an online tutoring session, elearning enables flexibility in pacing. If you ask any college or high school instructor, they’ll tell you that teaching a room full of students presents a significant challenge for finding an ideal instructional pace: some will be too quick for certain students and too slow for others. The instructor needs to find the mean pace, but this will at best be ideal for a small subset of the students. Elearning allows individuals to move through lessons at their own individual pace, whether fast or slow, in order to come away with the same knowledge as their peers. It also helps those with shorter or longer attention spans: stop or start your lessons whenever they like.
Integrate assessments and learning tools with online learning.
Elearning courses often include interactive exercises designed to help the student learn in an interesting and intuitive way. But where these types of exercises get even more impressive is when they fuse the relationship between assessment and learning tool. Imagine a student trying to identify the different bones in the human body as they appear on his screen, all while the software records his time spent and success rate. The result would be an accurate representation of his knowledge as well as the rate at which he arrived at his end result.
Elearning – from personalized one-on-one solutions like online tutoring to large-scale corporate courses – is inherently different, and in some significant ways, better, than traditional learning.
Have you or an organization that you’ve been part of used elearning in the past? If so, I’m curious to know about your experience – feel free to leave any comments, thoughts or opinions in the comments section below. Any feedback will help us advance student potential at Skooli, an online tutoring service with professional tutors for over 1700 subjects, including: online math help, geometry tutors, thermodynamics online, physics help, English help online, and SAT prep.
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- Why online learning is better than in-person learning - April 14, 2016