Online education doesn’t have to suck!

There was a very interesting article posted by Mashable yesterday reporting on the use of virtual classrooms in higher education. There is no point in me repeating what it says here – I’ll let you read the full report yourself but it does certainly make for interesting reading. To me there are no surprises because I know how effective virtual classrooms can be used.

When you read the article, although it is primarily looking at higher education in the States, please don’t let this cloud your thinking. When it talks about education – think learning in general. Afterall, set curricula in higher education can be similar to set courses in organisations.

Here are some key points I took from the article.

  1. Garbage in garbage out to quote the American phrase. It’s not tool that makes for low-quality delivery, its the quality of the deliverer. A poorly designed and delivered classroom when delivered online will still be poorly designed and delivered. If you know how to deliver engaging, learner-centred face to face classroom session, you can, with a little extra effort and enhanced skills, deliver engaging and learner-centred live online classroom sessions. Just because it’s delivered online doesn’t mean you can make less of an effort – in fact you will need to make more.
  2. Blend the delivery for maximum efficiency by making the best use of resources. For example, observed assessments locally were face to face as well as being assessed over video by the tutor.
  3. The ability to reach more people with minimal extra cost and physical resources. Not to mention being able to overcome travel disruptions such as those we experienced in December just gone.
  4. Encourages self-motivation and collaboration on a wider scale.

The future of learning is using the right set of tools for the job. The key to success is how to use the tool effectively.

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