During the first week of ADLT 640 – The Theory and Practice of eLearning Integration into Adult Environments – we looked at the changing landscape of learning (with hat-tip to Jeff Nugent) and the Evolution of Elearning (with hat-tip to Ruben Puentedura)
A term that came up in class when defining “e-learning” was organic…a natural part of the learning environment. I have never heard it described quite that way, but this really resonated with me.
You can check out their blogs here. There were some interesting take-aways.
Is there a difference between “online learning” and “learning online”? Online learning is the buzzword that we use to define an alternative and formal method to learning that is still evolving. Learning online was what my sons did – fluid, organic, and not associated with school.
…and from another post by Julia:
However, nine minutes of conceptualizing about hybrid thinking in the next 20 years left me even more personally aware that this is truly the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth. I am at the same time both excited and a bit overwhelmed by the prospect.
So to answer the question: YES! Online teaching is absolutely marked by practices that are different from face-t0-face courses. The two are not equal. I am not saying that one is better and the other is worse, but that the two are distinctly different settings that require distinctly different methods to facilitate learning and engagement. Unfortunately, I feel that many educators prefer the safety of classroom limitations than the risk – no, challenge – of seeking to successfully educating online. (Similarly, many of us learners fear the challenge of adapting to learning in an online environment.)
In a similar vein, Jennifer noted:
There seems to be this great divide between those who are against technology and those who are strongly for it. I personally feel in the middle.
Although in-person is preferred for lengthy or certification trainings, I would argue quick hit e-learning is the preference for many people. To increase the popularity of longer e-learning courses educators must figure out how to incorporate the cultural aspects of the classroom into e-learning.
Caitlin posted an interesting observation about elearning she had experienced:
I’ve taken other eLearning classes since. One was an entirely online course in accounting, not my strongest subect anyway. It also wasn’t what I was hoping for: I wanted a guide on how to use software to do small business accounting, and instead I was caculating payroll taxes with a calculator. Bogus. It gave me a bad impression of online courses because it used the pervasive “post an original post to blackboard, and comment on three other posts.” The format was really foced and unnatural. Plus, who wants to comment about accounting? … So now we’re talking about elearning, and I’m looking at it from the lens of an Adult Ed student, one who still has most of her professors use the post-one-comment-three method for most of our reflective blogging. It begs the question: who came up with that ratio? Why is it so pervasve? Sometimes it begets engaged comment threads, but a lot of the time there are three comments that say things like, “Yeah, great post, I agree!” or some variation therein. I think we can all agree, that’s not a conversation.
And from Mo:
The question that needs to be asked is: is technology changing/transforming/redefining how we think of education? The obvious answer is yes if we look at the trends in the use of technology in the classroom. Looking carefully at the current education, however, we can see that technology is used to replace the old ways of doing things in many educational settings. It acts as a direct tool-substitute with no functional improvement.
Lots to chew on….
This week, we explore the learning theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism as they relate to elearning.