How Popular Is Online Learning

This week Bored Panda spotlight’s the latest topic in the online learning revolution: who’s using online learning the most, and who’s not? The answers give us a clue as to how businesses are making the most of the space as a means of managing and training their employees.

How Popular Is Online Learning

How Popular Is Online Learning?

Published online November 5, 2018 by McGraw-Hill Education, “How Popular Is Online Learning?” examines the way U.S. universities and their MOOC partners are approaching the web and aims to suggest what, if anything, universities may need to do to accelerate online learning. The analysis is a companion to McGraw-Hill Education’s annual quality-assessment report, “The Report of the OME-Council for Higher Education Policy (OME-Council),” released earlier this year.

Last year, I reported in SEED ON, “Makers Race to Jump-Start Online Studies,” that the majority of higher-education leaders surveyed by McGraw-Hill Education believe online courses and courses delivered over the web can “graduate large numbers of students quickly.” This year, Higher Ed, “A Quality Checkup on Online Courses: Can They Cure College Burnout?” finds that 92 percent of U.S. college and university presidents, provosts, faculty, and staff think online courses are “complementary to in-person classes.”

I highlighted three key areas where online learning has succeeded and given them a glowing re-evaluation. They are:

Online education is distinctively different from what faculty have taught in the classroom. What I’ve called “the mitzvah of online learning” lies at the heart of online learning’s success. “Once a student makes a simple decision, mostly about permission to use a peer model that he or she values, they’re immediately comfortable with the content being taught, and with interacting with peers in an online space. After some months of experience, they become actively engaged.” That mitzvah, that opportunity to change what faculty education is about, and thus make it more relevant, is very powerful. The second reason “open online courses” (ORCs) are so successful: because they allow for student-led creation and discourse about material. This “learn and contribute” model of interaction is what users themselves are demanding from education.

One aspect of the improved motivation to engage and open online course content is that in the past year, five students per week have attended online courses on a non-U.S. university. Two MOOCs in South Korea, one in Singapore, and one in China, have resulted in significant numbers of students around the world.

Why Online Education Should Inspire a “Progressive Transformation in Learning”

Since MOOCs are quickly becoming part of higher education, “How Popular Is Online Learning?” is dedicated to examine what, if anything, we can learn from them and how to make them, and their learning outcomes, more useful to faculty, students, and the overall learning community.

The current research and technology available has revealed that MOOCs represent “an important move forward in the dynamics of college education.” According to one MOOC survey, students who successfully complete “an MOOC and validate their training through a certification program” receive a value of at least $50,000 per student.

Last year’s NEHI/Common Sense Media 2017 Best Quality of Online Learning study reveals that MOOC students gained well-below-average credit for their degrees. This year’s NEHI/Common Sense Media 2018 Best Quality of Online Learning study finds little increase in higher-education institutions’ use of an instructor-led course-development model, and only a modest increase in colleges and universities’ use of online assessment tools. And when institutions are asked whether these tools are useful in improving the quality of online classes, 93 percent say “yes,” but only 54 percent say they are “very useful.”

Meanwhile, two participants in our online MOOCs – nine universities and community colleges-reported marginal increases in course completion. Most MOOC users believe “online courses provide a reasonable alternative to college courses.

We’re at a critical moment in the evolution of online learning. The interactive nature of online courses promises to make online courses more effective. However, MOOC developers continue to struggle with building robust courses that are relevant, engaging, and engaging in ways that not only their students but the faculty and student bodies as a whole find attractive.

In addition to answering the questions listed above, I want to invite my readers to ponder:

What types of courses are most relevant to your college and university and can you be sure that your institution is doing enough to provide those courses in a good way?

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