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How Online Learning Impacts Learning Nea
By Adami Piontia
Working on a Masters of Science (Grad/Master’s of Education) in Teaching and Learning (SLT) helped me completely change the way I think about how our workforce learns. Learning in this field entails the world-class pedagogy of SLT which uses a combination of high-tech methods, theories, and practices. With this, I’ve come to the realization that everything I learned in graduate education has actually been useful in my current career. Although I initially came to SLT with the goal of a BA and then a MA in Teaching and Learning, I realized early on that what I was studying and learned early on would stay with me for a long time.
Living in Seattle, WA, I could easily walk to a SLT research lab, but because of the university’s distance learning facilities, I took classes, which worked out to a train ride to our colleagues. Due to the large number of new graduate students taking time to graduate, SLT was rapidly being snapped up by the university and took over the transition from undergrad education to their graduate programs. Two-thirds of my classmates only came to the university to participate in SLT courses, which meant I had a substantial support network which I was able to rely on, even when I had a difficult time focusing and making new connections. If this kind of learning has been of value to you, take it from someone who completed her graduate studies by moving from multiple undergraduate departments.
This ability to build support systems is crucial to gaining adequate workplace skills. If you miss connecting with people and learning the “how” of certain things, it can be incredibly difficult to actually apply what you learn in the workplace. I have often experienced this kind of problem. I became a professional teacher in August and had a lot of formal administrative tasks to take care of. It seemed like I wasn’t developing some of the skills I had learned. I had to ask myself, why was this the case? I took a self-assessment and realized how much I really wanted to learn and how much I was struggling with taking ownership of my learning. The results were eye-opening: I was able to identify and address weaknesses which helped me work toward improving my skill set.
This is not to say that you can’t use online courses to learn directly. You can certainly learn the kind of skills that will benefit you in your professional life by working on techniques such as data analysis and scheduling and marketing tools, but you can’t have a stronger foundation in fundamental pedagogy in advance of pursuing that kind of coursework. To quote a colleague, “Don’t do online classes. Do online grad courses.” It’s not surprising that some people find and thrive in the difficulty of online learning due to lack of access, but this can be a hindrance to someone who is not a veteran learner.
Many students may not have a way to leave their school for a few months at a time. Because of that, attending live lectures is the best way to apply and apply what you learn. Use your skills while you can and don’t let perceived barriers keep you from applying your knowledge. My approach to online learning has actually helped me become very adaptive to everything I have encountered in my career, and I have a lot of the skills which, even though they are applied to teaching, have changed my mindset about how to teach. Learning these skills early on has also allowed me to better bring together technology and human learning.