PLN Activity 8: How Online Learning Is Being Used To Enhance Education

http://edudemic.com/2013/02/how-online-learning-is-being-used-to-enhance-education/

Rapid advancement of information technology has not only influenced human life, but also the time and space in which humans learn. This article talks about what are the 5 ways online learning enhances productivity and how exactly does it reduce the cost of education.

The 2012 Survey of Online Learning reveals that the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million. Moreover, 32 % of higher education students now take at least one course online. Online courses seem to be a trend in nowadays education. As a teacher-to-be, I do agree with the author’s point of view that online learning can enhance education, meanwhile, there’re still some points that I concern. I’m going to clarify my thoughts in the following perspectives:

Knowledge Resources

Online learning can provide students more accesses to educational resources and experiences. It makes us easier to search more additional information online. However, too much information is hard for students to digest and to understand, under this circumstance, the whole bunch of information may just become meaningless and easy turn out to be garbage.

Time & Equipment

Online courses contain no time or space constraints, is built with reusable components, and is highly scalable, which means that the same program can be used with 10 participants to 100 participants or even to 100,000 participants with little incremental financial cost or physical effort. Students can revisit the course over and over again if they need.

However, if there’s no technological equipment or Internet, online courses will not be accessible for students. Institutions and instructors should work together to set their students up for success, with a minimum requirement of Internet connectivity and at least one device for every student.

Learning

In an online environment no one stands over the student to remind him to do his homework, or is in front of him to ensure he is mastering the curriculum. In online programs, learning is active and the learner must be engaged at all times. However, there may have lots of distractions that makes students can’t focus on their study. Moreover, students may procrastinate their learning because they think that they can learn anytime.

Instruction

A good e-platform can record student learning process and outcome comprehensively. It allows teachers to see whether the students are on track or not, they can individualize and differentiate instruction based on students’ performance. Students can also identify and monitor their own learning process.

At this stage, some effective online assessment tools will be needed. Otherwise, we cannot evaluate students’ learning outcome precisely only by counting the click thru rates and number of working hours.

Curriculum

Teacher can integrate lots of multi-media in the online courses, such as some pictures, videos and audios. It helps to fit students with different needs. It can personalize learning by building on students’ interests. However, most of teaching content in online course may focus more on the academic knowledge, which may be kind of hard for teachers to integrate physical / behavioral skills in their courses, for stance, how to respect others and how to manage the emotion etc. Therefore, some courses are better been taught in the traditional classroom, PE and Art education are the good examples.

In the high technology generation, students’ learning styles and needs vary in online instructional environments. I have the following recommendations:

Instructors should train their students to be proficient when using the tools of online courses. Instructors should provide a training program or orientation for students who would like to take classes in online instructional environment. This would enable students to become familiar with the learning setting. Besides, teachers should be aware of students’ preference when designing activities or instructional pedagogies for online instructional environments.

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