We need to look at the two when assessing online learning.
How Is Online Learning Different From Classroom Learning
As higher education becomes more and more diversified, we are observing how students of various ages, ages and socio-economic statuses are responding to online and campus based learning alternatives. Online and non-traditional routes of learning continue to draw interest among students who, for one reason or another, don’t wish to continue within the confines of a classroom setting. In order to better meet the evolving needs of students who are embracing new forms of education, two distinct concepts are being explored within the classroom.
1. Grassroots Cultivation
At times, online and non-traditional efforts simply don’t have the opportunity to do all that much, or if they do, they may not be as effective. Such is the case with many non-traditional models.
However, there exists a grass roots effort, a grassroots effort in education that is growing and evolving beyond this micro-study. Taking this formula and applying it to an online learning environment, where students can expect to learn on a small scale, is now one of the newest ways to meet the goal of increased student engagement.
Many start-ups that offer online and campus based courses are doing it the grassroots way. They either have success where others have failed, or success where others have failed, and are expanding on the success. Because of this, the grass roots approach is being embraced as the way to go when it comes to education.
Another term to watch is “empowerment”. This is an umbrella term which encompasses the aspects of empowerment, flexibility, and choice. Students can and are doing it themselves.
In essence, some students in their current work-set are opting to do things for themselves to make good choices in order to help themselves and make better use of their time. Unfortunately, it has not been accompanied by courses offered online by schools such as the University of Phoenix, William Penn, and other institutions that serve students. These courses can be considered by many as graduate level courses. While online courses can help students, some are choosing not to take courses they may like online and are choosing to go down the little-known, less-profitable route of education.
In a general sense, many of these students are looking for more freedom, being able to take courses or perhaps a combo of courses offered at a small scale and in a way that suits their needs. They are also looking for fulfillment of expectations of a college degree in a traditional framework.
While some institutions are opting to do this for their own benefit and purpose, these types of students are cutting these institutions off from the investments made in online learning, for their benefits, purpose, and/or purposes. While online colleges can lay claim to offering the opportunity to “empower” students and keep schools and institutions relevant in the modern world, at times, these newer types of students are leaving students at traditional institutions in the dust.
These newer kinds of education, and the ways in which they are offered, may serve to cut off an institution like UCLA or UCLA of Bloomfield College, one of the largest non-traditional colleges in the country. They often serve the “dropout” population and its costs to the school in more ways than one. While they serve an important function in and of themselves, if online models continue to grow and flourish in greater numbers, it is the large traditional schools that may suffer.
This does not mean there is not value being provided. There is a benefit for some students. With their networks and support, they can find future employment or follow in the footsteps of some of the grand retired professors.
Even when traditional models are no longer relevant or relevant, the core value systems associated with them will most likely still be in effect. Institutions, such as Harvard University, have done a great job of turning to the visionary in the hopes of creating an environment that is win-win. It serves to retain a lot of their traditional student base.
One of the ways to look at these two different approaches to education is that, if one wants to reap the benefits of these two factors (grassroots and empowerment), the community first is needed. The community is what helps drive quality programs. Nowhere is this more evident than in our Veterans Affairs health care system.