Online learning is a part of what is known as “distance education.” It’s learning away from the instructor and/or other classmates and may even be learning away from the instructional material itself (as in the frog you are learning about isn’t a real frog you can touch right in front of you). Online learning is what a lot of people are using now thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web (WWWW – ha!), but you may not know why if you haven’t used it before.
So why use online learning?
Is it better than a live workshop? What about hiring a private coach?
- Online learning supports two-way collaborative learning. This means it is NOT ONE-WAY. Watching a video on YouTube might be considered one-way. You watch and listen but you cannot interact. It’s arguable that you could post a comment and someone might reply, but how often does that really happen, I mean really? In online learning you are able to interact with your learning materials (also known as artifacts) and/or your instructor and/or your peers back and forth. In a live workshop you get to ask questions and have them answered. The same needs to be true in a good online learning environment.
- Online learning is repeatable to deliver core learning. A big issue in learning for a lot of schools is getting the same message across to learners. As a learner yourself this might seem silly at first, but what if your Kindergarten taught you the sky was red and then you got to First Grade and everyone else said it was blue? That would have been a problem, right? In a workshop, lessons can derail based on the learners in the room and core lessons can be missed (although extra things can also be learned which is something I personally enjoy about teaching live), so in choosing to use online learning, you as a learner can be assured in obtaining the core lessons and objectives promised.
- Online learning is often a preferred delivery method for learners. We like our emails over snail-mail and don’t want to drive 150 miles to go to a seminar on something even though that’s the closest one on something we really need to learn about. Online learning is accessible and in many cases offers on-demand learning which is flexible in when we choose to do it and how long it takes to complete the objectives and goals, so students can learn at their own pace.