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What does the future of online learning look like?

Aloha käkou,
With the recent DOE report to the Senate saying that they (DOE) "underestimated the demand for on-line learning and they now have a goal that by 2011-2012, each student has to take at least one class on-line," I've been thinking that this could finally be the break-through that we need in Hawai`i in regards to considering distance learning as not only a viable, but also a valuable, alternative to f2f classes and even brick & mortar schools. I found this article in the Threshold magazine that's a quarterly journal dedicated to education and technology. It's done in collaboration with NACOL and seems like a very good resource. I liked the article because it's done in a forum with leaders in the online learning field giving their opinion on "What does the future of onlinel earning look like?" So, before you read the short (sorry, yes it is only text) article, think about what your answer to this question would be? Will the future be a hybrid model of both brick & mortar and online options? Will learning be done entirely online? Will students become the drivers of their own education plans/goals and be able to achieve them through many different vehicles? Here are some of the quotes I liked:

"We will have to incorporate online learning into our general approach to education or today’s students will find schooling irrelevant with the realities of the rest of their lives."

"The word that comes to mind for me is pervasive. And I think this incorporates some of the comments already made, depending on how far we look into the future.My sense is that our concept of that is either/or: It is either in a classroom or it is online. In the future, it is going to be pervasive, so we will not really know the difference." - The ATM analogy for education is a good one, too - don't skip that section.

"I think a change in mindset from the original, which might have been, "Well, this (online learning) is a good option for really, really motivated independent students.” We are going to have to make that change." - to make it accessible and meaningful to all students.

Here's a link to the article "The Future of Online Learning - A Threshold Forum" Looking forward to hearing your mana`o on the future of online learning or what your favorite quotes were! For you visual learner, I don't want you to be too disappointed so here's a link to another resource from Threshold magazine illustrating how virtual schools and online learning work. Christy, you'll like this one :) Virtual Schools and Online Learning - How it works

Happy reading (sorry, no cool program to try this time),
Kelly

Comments

Clinton said…
Mahalo for sharing this discussion on the future of online learning. I found the discussion to be most informative on the varying possibilities. I agree with the statements made about we must take the best from the F2F classroom and distance learning to support one another. It’s from this idea of implementing the best educational practices, pedagogies and technologies with respect to your learners that we can start to maximize the potential of all our students. No one solution will work for everyone. Also, with the U.S. educational system on the decline compared to other nations, maybe the future is looking at their success and implementing them at home.
Komarey said…
Thank you Kelly for sharing this story. It seems like a lot has happened in the last week or so. First, the message about DOE schools mandating online learning, and campus talks...The article is definitely the start to future discussions the U.S. Educational system should have. There were three issues that stood out in the article: 1. The concern with teacher training. 2. Access to students outside of just "middle class". 3. Adult learners from the "Baby Boomers" that are now retiring but are life long learners. All three of these issues are things we're trying to address. I think we're on the right track as a program to address learners of the 21st century.
Anonymous said…
This was an interesting article that brought up a number of points that we are either experiencing ourselves or, I’m sure, see coming on the horizon as the DOE looks to make DL courses mandatory for all public school students. I thought that the ATM analogy was a great one, and is something that can really communicate the direction of Online learning to those that are wary or “uneducated” in the ways of distance learning…really it’s not a lesser quality of education than you would receive in a brick & mortar institution. Another statement that stood out for me was “moving from Mastery type grade requirements to performance based ones”. While this movement has been going on for some years now, I think that DL has the potential to be a great catalyst for this as we see more and more Second-Life type opportunities arise. When I think about the future of DL I think of students having the option to try out different career tracts in a simulated environment before they invest lots of time & money towards training in a pathway that they may later decide is not for them. I sometimes wonder if I still would be a teacher if I had more opportunities to experience other job options while in school. Mahalo for the opportunity to ponder.:)

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