What Do Learning Online And Lerning In Textbooks Have In Common

When going back to school, it’s easier to balance homework, tutoring and socializing if the classroom operates from home via video chat, or vice versa.

Finding your future. Learning online and in college textbooks are fairly common. What are the ties between the two?

Does using an online library translate into a better degree? Is falling asleep to an online book a safer bet than checking all of the available texts on your own?

It’s certainly a rough time to be a textbook reader and student, as far as content trends are concerned. As communication and media consumption has changed, publishing has responded with an increased focus on ebook-only options. Supposedly, these online reader textbooks lend themselves to the very young or the very old, depending on the user’s preference. However, every generation has probably endured some of the jarring and confusing learning experiences of published texts, when it comes to the diversity of questions raised, examples made, and definitions addressed.

Textbook essays have become increasingly complicated over the years. They’re designed to contain multiple pieces of information in very short and concise spaces, so that professors can be sure they are giving each student the max: the least amount of information possible that will satisfy their demanding grade requirements. It’s a demand that is out of sync with the many aspects of learning that lend themselves to longer, more involved and rigorous tasks. For example, who can argue with mastering critical thinking skills with an introduction to Plato, who spent over 2,500 years teaching a single virtue?

Or how about the complications involved in reading a memoir of a now-disabled person before having ever had any personal experiences? While academics have introduced the concept of free-access evaluation software like DiSC to make sure class materials are given the most accurate and useful interpretation possible, the reality of student experience is that every language and culture has something different to say about each subject, every text, every skill and every viewpoint. That’s something the in-class professor is completely unprepared to handle.

Textbook readers and instructors have a long-standing and sometimes confusing relationship, especially for those who are new to the classroom. Some students must be expected to have the learning down pat before being allowed into classes where major equations may await, or when they must learn what means inter alia when you think that it means “x.” At the same time, adjunct professors who often teach multiple courses may be unfamiliar with the principles and concepts that often make up textbook material, much less apply them to a wide variety of courses.

Whether it’s finding your way through the vast library of learning options available on the open site, or learning what is listed in multiple options for a particular text, it can be hard to use the tools that both educators and students alike might be most comfortable with. The good news is that traditional text classes may soon be replaced by a digital transition, where learning really is expanded by the sheer accessibility of the tools of digital learning. Virtual learning tools aim to bring the best of both worlds: real learning for large groups, and the convenience of an immediate one-on-one experience.

The future of the classroom may not be quite as touchy-feely as it’s currently, but as the economy begins to focus more on raw competency, which is arguably based on having “good eyesight” and “good listening,” small classes can only go so far. In the near future, even the hefty textbook will be increasingly treated as antiquated and borderline anachronistic—and be replaced with a newer, more efficient platform. Of course, the book still has a place, but the best book is the one in the student’s hand, and the best book is the one that everyone can use.

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