“what Is “”online Learning””?”

Do you really understand what is online learning? If you answered yes you may be on the right track.

When I was a little girl, I got this incredible letter from my friend’s mother, who lives in India. (I was so jealous — I wanted to go there, too — this was way before my teens when some parents would let their kids stay over with them at their place. Who wants to be that kid!) It said something like, “I knew there would be a day that you and I would live in our city and send our kids to school and learn how to write ‘mobile,’ and ‘live-stream,’ and ‘review,’ and interact with our friends — not in person, but via the Internet, which I have been taught is ‘online learning.’ ”

Now we’re all here and we can truly appreciate it — we can communicate with others who may be far away, have different needs or get too tired to learn and some of us can easily be at the peak of our educational potential.

I’ve experienced, most recently, how I can get so enamored with something and end up devoting so much time into it (or lose it). So, to return on the topic I wrote about in my blog about just how we should think about this whole digital revolution, I want to first share with you some fun definitions that I’ve found online to help you make sense of this whole world of education.

1. “Online learning”

Take a minute and use this interesting definition from the Harvard University Extension School. This definition tells you very clearly what it is — either get them more done in class, or live, log, and learn on the go.

2. “Online teaching”

According to this definition from the University of Washington, this description means something different. It says, “Online teaching typically refers to online programs that meet all courses’ needs (major, minor, K-12, middle school, post-secondary) and include online material complemented by live instruction or along with live instruction. These programs, while online, use traditional classroom-like activities that act as an enhanced environment for learning.”

3. “Caboodle”

Ok, so here is a difficult one. But it’s one that I feel like you should read. It’s from The Conversation, and it’s written by Jeanna Gaddi, who points out that “… people who become flexible in how they work with technology are unlikely to become distracted or overwhelmed.” It’s a great piece that dives into how our brains adapt to different modes of learning, and how this includes how we find our friends, building online relationships as well as real ones. This “Caboodle” is a bit out there, but intriguing nonetheless.

4. “Mobile learning”

But then there’s this perfect example of how the new world is different than the old, from Julia Gabbert, at the Government Technology Association of Australia. It’s a great piece titled, “… why we should be doing away with learning by rote and making learning available via the internet.” It goes on to write about how social media, for example, plays a huge role in how we interact, and how new technology can be integrated more into our lives.

5. “Learner Partnership”

So my friends, there you have it — some great definitions, plus many more! This is a world that I am so fascinated by, and I hope that it never goes away — I want to learn from the amazing people who are in my life, and I want to see this continue to happen. But, it does seem a little scary — we could all look back and say, “Wait, what were we all doing?”

Congratulations on your growth — you’re growing into an amazing human being. You have a long way to go yet, but just keep on growing!

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