Remember the days when Twitter only allowed 140 characters in one tweet? Now that Twitter lets you write 280 characters, people are obligated to write more. But for the sake of this argument, let's pretend that Twitter was only 140 characters, and you tweeted me the question, "what is online learning?" I would respond, "Online learning is any type of learning that is synchronous or asynchronous that happens full or partly over the internet. There is no one way of online learning and has a broad range of ways to display over the internet." As you can see, one tweet can limit my full explanation. Let me explain online learning in three parts: broad explanation, examples, and future of online learning.
Broad Explanation of Online Learning
Online learning is easy to understand but complex to define the reason being is that online learning covers a broad range of areas. Online learning, as defined by Tony Bates, is any form of learning conducted wholly or partially over the internet. The any form is broad enough for anyone to interpret their way because online learning is a mode of delivery, not a method of teaching.
As a mode of delivery, there are plenty of ways to deliver online learning through a CD Rom, video, audio, YouTube, mobile, telecourses, and online. Online learning can happen in real-time (synchronous) or recorded (asynchronous). The broad explanation of online learning comes down to the following if your learning anything over the internet, it may be considered online learning.
If you have attended university in the last decade or went through training for a job, there is a high possibility that you have either enrolled in an online course or have been through live online training. If you have, then you have experienced online learning. Another example of online learning are live or recorded webinars.
Online learning experiences vary from individuals perspective, but what is certain about online learning is convenience and accessibility. When you can watch an online course at your own pace or pause a recorded webinar to attend to something, you have taken control of your learning.
Current online learning
The future of online learning is unpredictable. Thomas Edison once famously said in the 1900's that movies would replace textbooks in the classroom. Fast forward to 2020, and textbooks are still in the classroom. However, textbooks are now online with easy access through a tablet or computer.
There is also the rise of the Open Education Resource (OER) textbook where students can access an OER textbook for free, and educators can adapt the textbook to their classroom needs. Organizations are creating online tutorials and online videos through YouTube for students to learn about a specific topic for free. Today's technology has expanded the amount of online learning available to students.
Online learning is any form of learning over the internet, and with technology growing at a faster rate than ever before, it will only be time before virtual reality takes over the classroom, and perhaps no student will need to attend a classroom physically. Online learning will continue to grow, but what it will look like ten years from now is only up to the market to dictate. Does my explanation help you know more about online learning in fewer than 140 words?
Learn more by taking Introduction to Online Learning course.
Learning and Development Specialist. Discussing business, ed tech, and life. Follow me on social media @DrJRealTalk