In An Online Learning Environment, Where Does The Learning Take Place

A recent study in the USA has shown that online education in a big data-based manner can help individuals who struggled in school. It’s proven that students do better in online learning settings when the course content is tailored for a particular type of student.

In An Online Learning Environment, Where Does The Learning Take Place

Get over your typical liberal arts setting, where you study to please people. Yes, academics are still cool, but the modern student is so new that he or she isn’t loyal to any particular university. Students are important only insofar as they think you are important. And they want you to think they think you are important—and that’s tough. So they do some things for you.

“Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat,” is how Erin Kane, a 26-year-old program officer at the JFK Memorial Fund, characterized her college experience. “Stuff we didn’t actually need as students. So, we’d spend all of our time on it.”

It’s no wonder she became cynical.

Students are sociable: they’re connected to one another and to digital culture. They’re also free thinkers. Like it or not, most students’ social experience has as much to do with what they see as with what they are surrounded by, and everything they engage with online informs their perspective. And therefore, at college, the chance to learn from the unique perspective of another student or a professor who connects them to everyone in their world is invaluable, so what do students do? They engage in Facebook or Snapchat instead of talking face-to-face.

The story is similar at other colleges. Even at the country’s most elite institutions, the amount of time students spend on social media—be it Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or whatever—is growing. According to researcher Austin S. Lau, the college and university Web browsing habits of the current class of American college students are not unlike the habits of their millennial predecessors. This younger generation may be more connected, but does that mean they are more connected? Sesame Street, a PBS Kids Show, asserts in their website that online is offline. That means there’s a distance between you and the people in your circles. Online is social, but real-life social bonds are forged at times. “Living under the ‘screen time’ umbrella, is difficult because we draw so much on our active, non-screen social life. Going to the gym, or a party, is active, but Instagramming all you get to do is look beautiful,” wrote a Sydney student who is attending UNSW, as reported by The New York Times.

Social media might mean more self-expression and social expression, but it also means more isolation from real relationships, which is sad and problematic for many reasons. It sucks up your time, which means there’s less time for other activities such as financial planning, reading, and other free time pursuits. There’s also the problem of space. Time in the living room when you’re not talking to your friends is a little time lost. It can’t be quite as nostalgic as your favorite shows on Netflix.

The technology and social media that we engage with are becoming ever more complex, and it can often feel like an information minefield. There are constant e-mails and texts, online seminars and scheduling notifications, and constant infrequent voice calls and snarky memes. We use a computer instead of a television; we research instead of reading; our phones call for appointments instead of understanding. That’s a truth that’s as old as time itself. Yet, there is a significant difference between the way our societies, cultures, and people communicate.

“Most people today are digitally illiterate. They can’t set up their wifi and don’t use online forums,” says Jamie Erickson, director of mental health initiatives at the organization Infinite Youth, which was founded to help teens with social anxiety and depression. “That’s a problem because there’s a direct link between not being a digital citizen and being a social problem.”

Students need digital citizenship lessons. They’ve become overwhelmed by how to interact online with people in their age group. We’re naturally wired to connect. We don’t realize how easy it is to fall into one social group versus another. Just being on social media, for example, can be isolating; how about just going for a walk alone for a few minutes?

“It used to be that you had personal teachers, just teachers your age. Now, there are so many young people and so many other young people and so many different cultures,” says Erickson. “Your world is shrinking in every way, and it’s not helping anyone.”

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