Saturday, April 9, 2011

24. Online Advantages to Face to Face Learning

Ten Ways Online Education Matches, or Surpasses, Face-to-Face Learning
Mark Kassop, 2003
The Technology Source Archives

This article truly gets to the heart of the matter about learning, whether it be online or face to face or in any traditional fashion we can think of. The delivery and the media can change - but the value system that drives our planning and pedagogical decisions is what will guide us to success or failure. Certainly, knowledge of the media and the tools is important, but it cannot replace the guiding principles that lead our approaches to education. The article lists ten. Highlighted below some of the points made.

  1. STUDENT CENTERED LEARNING - online learning allows the instructor to truly take a back seat, non-intrusively monitoring what happens and leaving space and times for learners that are often not possible in more structured and traditional environments. This does not mean the instructor will work less - in fact more planning and fundamental design work needs to be in place in online learning spaces than in traditional settings.
  2. WRITING INTENSITY - whether the online environment is interactive and highly media-rich, ultimately, the core of production and reflection in online learning environments occurs in writing. And when students write they will tend to carefully considered what they say. And with increased access to reading texts the environment is set to produce improvements in the writing production.
  3. DISCUSSIONS - Online asynchronous discussions are one of the ket factors of improved reflection and observation skills and tasks. Students feel more space is given to them to truly ponder a discussion point and participate, given clear and fair guidelines.
  4. LIFELONG LEARNING - Online learning gives learners the responsibility to figure out the learning on their own, provided and knowing that scaffolding and support is always available, in many formats when needed.
  5. ENRICHED COURSE MATERIAL - The opportunities to locate, access and download interactive, rich and high quality resources in any one topic is almost infinite in online courses.
  7. FEEDBACK - the article mentions the idea of immediate feedback. However research does support differentiated feedback and support presence that can be an enhancing feature of online learning environments. This is to say that online self-assessment opportunities can be clearly planned for and occur on online learning environments and instructors can establish routines and strategies to support the learning with students. Once an agreement takes place on the timing of the feedback and its individuality and structure, students know what to expect and work around it. Modifications are of course always an option.
  9. INTIMATE COMMUNITY OF LEARNERS - A strong sense of community can truly form in online environments.
  10. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT AND REJUVENATION - If done properly and well supporting instructors who are approaching this delivery mode for the first time, online learning can become a reason for development and allow instructors to "fall in love" with their calling with renewed energies and enthusiasm.

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