How Is Online Learning Different From Bricks And Mortar Learning

How is online learning different from brick and mortar learning? Willie Perkinson has some thoughts.

Have you wondered what’s different between online learning and learning in a brick and mortar institution?

In an article in Newsweek, Adam Epstein reported that “times have changed” when he visited the Atlanta-based online global retailer RocketHub. There, he wondered what’s different between online learning and brick and mortar learning, and why it’s different when it comes to student retention.

His summary of research included an examination of 200,000 ratings on several courses from 48 colleges and universities across eight states.

“You will go to a school and hope that the spirit of their institution carries over to their online offering,” he said. “You have to say, are there any reasons why offline institutions could be inferior to online, and do they lead to better outcomes?”

To help answer his questions, Mr. Epstein invited two professors, David Segal of Pitzer College and Nancy F. Hampton of Drew University, to speak at his Brookings Institution conference in Washington DC. The panel was called “Resuming Education and the Next Generation of Experts,” and it included three professors.

Mr. Epstein asked each faculty member to break each course they taught into 10 sections, and explained that his question was how they would break the course into 10 smaller units with each of these small groups.

According to the professors, Online courses have the following disadvantages:

They are a narrow focus, and there are only a small number of subjects that fit that model.

They don’t offer travel time away from home and the safety of living in an institution.

They have the drawback of personal contact without support from academic advisors.

They require adults to continue taking college courses in order to graduate and advance in their careers.

They lack relevant and tangible results (good grades, applied studies, references).

They are evaluated by other students who don’t live or study in the same room and don’t live in the same place.

They may have certain unique learning styles or strengths.

The professors said that their offer to offer these students the same quality of professor that would be offered in a physical school is an option, and it’s a great experience for students.

According to a study by Randy Weinberg and April Hedrick entitled “The Failure of Online Higher Education: Exploring Learning in the Virtual World,” about 9,700 students were offered online courses by 86 colleges and universities. The study included quality ratings on faculty, courses, average passing rates, and more.

It found, “The pervasive patterns described in the larger meta-analysis of student experiences in MOOCs and general online courses indicate the need for a more intentional effort to humanize the quality of online education.”

Dr. Hedrick noted, “We do not know what the full academic outcomes will be at the end of the engagement period. More than anything else, our work so far tells us there should be more space and a more authentic process for humanization of learning.”

Dr. Hedrick and Dr. Weinberg recommend that online learning create an environment where academic work is kept “safe” to focus on the “concentrated effort” of mastering the material. They emphasize that the goal of this process is to create learning outcomes that be critically and appropriately recognized by the community, not just the instructor.

Resources for an interactive campus visit

Are you a students at another school? Even if you aren’t a student, maybe you want to do some informational research?

If so, research as much as you can about the school, the campus, the campus staff, and your academic advisor and graduate advisors.

If the information you gather piques your interest, come visit with them in person. You can also reach out through your academic adviser or by calling the campus to schedule an appointment.

These websites may help you gain some knowledge about the school, and show you that you can find resources through them.

The websites below are a place where you can locate an incredible amount of free information and links you can use in your research on your campus:

A data perspective is also available through your data warehouse. You can download this report to a spreadsheet, and then share it.

Finally, if you’d like to provide a video in which you describe the vast difference between physical and online learning for younger students, please send it to me at I am working on a project called “Opportunities for Youth and Their Families in Economic Crisis” that is needed by educators who are interested in engaging youth and their families. If you provide your video with your video participant information, I will include it in the report.

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