Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.
Donna J. Abernathy
As many other authors and specialists, Abernathy claims that online learning is here to stay. But, what is exactly online learning? And, is it as effective as offline learning?
In this post, I’ll try to answer these questions and share my position in favor of this new way of learning.
A Species of Learners
First of all, let us put this clear: the human species is a species of learners. One of our unique traits is our ability to learn and master different skills. We enjoy learning, and we’re always looking for ways of doing it faster and better. That’s exactly what makes us explore new creative ways of learning, sharing, and teaching.
We’ve been improving and refining our educational methods since always. We can’t help it. As soon as we create something new or develop a new technology, we use that to improve our educational efforts.
During our history as species, we’ve created quite a number of impressive things. These are all instructional technologies:
- Visual media
- Audio materials
- Educational films
In a field as mathematics, we went to create the:
- Mechanical calculator
Online Learning is Practical
With the widespread use of the Internet, online learning is practical. We don’t even need to be at a personal computer anymore. We can learn using our smartphones or tablets. Screens and mobile processors are getting better and better every year. We can stream online courses and use powerful applications with rich graphics and video.
Online learning gives us the chance of taking lessons via Skype and other video-call services.
Why Bother with Offline?
Why should we go take a live lesson when we can get one online? Why should we settle for what we can get in our area? Why do we need to limit and constrain our learning experiences?
We need to bring learning to people instead of people to learning.
And there’s no better way to do this than to take full advantage of online learning.