This question and answer session is edited lightly and condensed for clarity.
How Will Learning Help Me Online
How will I learn online? The answer depends on how you envision learning in the future.
Let’s use a typical US college experience as an example. The typical student starts college with a loan in hand. Then she takes classes from a school for which she is already a student, but instead of sitting down in the classroom, she tries the classes in front of a computer screen. She has the benefits of the knowledge learned in class but also the benefit of using the resources available online. Will the human factor help her succeed, or will she struggle because of the nature of the learning platform?
The recent trend in education technology is towards getting the human elements back in learning, perhaps the most evident way is through the development of instructional video. The aim of these video is to give students what they need to complete a task and/or a test or take part in group discussion. If videos are installed on the students’ laptops, it is so that everyone has the same resources to help each other. In fact, if you have an excellent system with multiple layers of security, you can even develop these video elements with the help of the students, making it a self-paced activity. So far, many students seem to like this video setup, sometimes making it a big part of their social life, or at other times it turns out to be less relevant to their learning.
Emulating that type of learning environment in online educational platforms is not as simple as adding videos to existing resources. First, video, as content, can be integrated in almost any online platform and some of the biggest institutions of learning in the world have done that already, and the results are very promising. For example, most educational platforms that we have already mentioned above have implemented video that converts to audio, for instance, for the students who cannot read and therefore, aren’t involved in group discussion. Some of the larger organizations such as Stanford University are also experimenting with online video that only accompanies the students through a speedier writing process. Video also turns into scripts for the instructors who work with their students to collaborate online and face-to-face.
Besides video-to-audio, there are many other solutions for more human-centric learning, which also have not been widely implemented yet. It is really hard to take a shortcut in order to explain a concept to a student, and therefore most students learn through discussion and interaction, which was not possible in the traditional academic system. Many of them are also impressed by the webinars that are constantly available online, and you can imagine that the need for learning online will only be growing over time.
When looking into the future, we should go back to the question of online learning: Can students learn in this new world, will they learn enough, and how will online learning evolve in the future? Online learning has already made a very positive impact in the world of education, and we will probably have even more available avenues for learning in the future. We can imagine several possibilities that could exist online: One, students could walk into a class on the platform of their choice and just listen. Two, students could even face any questioning from the instructor remotely and be answered by the teacher himself. For the instructors, online classes are also their largest potential source of revenue. For this reason, many organizations are trying to develop competitive platforms where instructors will earn a living from this new type of work. Organizations that can make it easy for instructors to earn money also have great value in their chosen field, but it will always be a minority that will succeed, whether it be with online learning platforms or any other business model. It takes more than just money, however, to make an educational program successful.
As it is today, few people will make the transformation from traditional classroom to online classroom in the next few years. The “deadline” for that change has already been talked about and an historic shift has not happened yet. We will not abandon textbooks and in-class discussion and all that people can do in those environments is learn for it is their right to learn, so in that respect, the concept of learning is not going anywhere, but sometimes it is hard to tell whether they are for the students or for their instructor. But either way, they are really there and still do a lot for the students.