To “e” or not to “e”


After finishing my PID Ive elected to continue the journey by taking the Certificate in On-line learning and guess what?… it’s taught on line!  The first task is to reflect on what we think the differences are between teaching on line versus face to face.

One of the interesting aspects of “learning about learning” (my blog title) is that you have the duality of the being both student and instructor.  I’ll share my thoughts on both.

As a student:

Its been a little over two years since my first blog post relating to Technology and the adult learner.  Its interesting to reflect on the changes Ive undergone personally with my attitudes to on-line learning.

I had written about the technology challenges and, while I still prefer a physical text book, I now know enough word press to be dangerous.   I continue to place importance on face to face interactions but have learned that with some technology and effort,  valuable on-line interactions and, more importantly, a sense of community can be formed.

I find that on-line learning requires more discipline and self direction.  Instead of showing up to class and saying “feed me” you must take your own initiative and “self serve”.  Two aspects of this that I think are particularly challenging are “diet” and “pace”.   I think that on-line its easier to get sidetracked and experience information overload.   The pace of an on-line course I think can be more difficult to judge; perhaps because it is often more self directed.

As an Instructor:

I have little to no experience in teaching on-line however I do believe it’s the way of the future.   I anticipate both some challenges and benefits.

Being the “sage on the stage” is certainly not possible in teaching an on-line course.  That’s said I’ve learned in my PID journey to let go of ego as an instructor.

A more recent personal revelation was my own need to see the learning rather than trust that it was happening (Not necessarily a good thing).  I would think that on-line learning presents some unique challenges in assessment as learning.  How do you adapt for different learning styles?

Preparation is key in instruction but I think  its especially important in on-line instruction. There is no place to hide or chance to “wing it”.  Materials need to be prepared well in advance and available for student use… and scrutiny.

On-line learning does have the benefit of replication and commoditization. The idea that learning can take place anytime, anywhere  is a growing trend that I am keen to explore.


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