When Did Online Learning Start

If you use the internet to learn, you’re part of an exciting trend. The web has come a long way, from static text and pre-loaded video games.

Ever since the advent of the internet, the word “educational” has been loosely bandied about to describe whatever was being consumed and shared at any given moment. Indeed, “digital” and “education” are frequently used interchangeably. Technology has fundamentally changed how we connect, communicate, and consume information. However, if you’re trying to get a grasp on exactly when learning shifted from “people teaching people” to “resources” — there’s evidence and references to that.

Enter “way out of the box.” Basically, you would think that the analog era of paper and pencil and textbooks had passed; however, the flat image and digital wizardry of the last few decades have warped the mind-set to believe that “learning” didn’t take place offline. The crux of the problem is that many — though certainly not all — educational resources were designed to be super-sophisticated. In other words, the reason for the need for expensive digital toolkits is that “educational” needs “systematic.” Systems are core to any organization; without them, there is chaos and confusion. Digital education, for example, builds on this core concept to provide students with standardized solutions to major challenges. Of course, there is no homogenous way to measure your own level of intelligence. However, most of us do feel that we’re an inch from our own perfection as humans. In that case, the path to self-ascribed “achievement” is clearly defined by the value of online educational tools, experiences, and applications. Therefore, as far as we’re concerned, “retailing” is education. You know, the physical toys we know as Amazon and Ebay. They facilitate your acquisition of goods, as opposed to the creation of them. In fact, their functions are often the same. And this is because it’s the same principle.

There was a time when your parents used to call it “marketing” to guide you through certain tasks in the school. Some of that work existed online, but more offline services have helped bridge the gap between education and play. Ask your young adult what they do during lunch: most have the answer prepared. They could go off on a tangent about how watching video games are boring, but we recognize that it’s a way of passing the time. Furthermore, the influence of media has taken on the shape of a crystal ball, so to speak. Regardless of how you might want to picture it, studies have shown that when playing video games, we share thoughts and ideas. Our brains have learned to integrate these stimulations in a way that mirrors the experience of actual entertainment. The “wisdom of crowds” doesn’t just apply when it comes to choosing your next meal. That idea was literally coined in a venture capital document by an early investor that made a few graphs.

Which leads us to the question: What happens when you meet the brain? During an interesting podcast interview with Dartmouth professor Kirk McLean, the topics of brain structure and thinking were touched upon. McLean seemed surprised by the notion that we don’t simply connect with people — we actually interact with them. “Obliviousness,” or the unconscious inclusion of something else in an otherwise thoughtful thought, is reality. The philosophy of how we connect with each other isn’t an abstract concept for McLean, whose academic practice has been focused on this research. We are, in fact, robots, and our brains are serving something called Deep Diving Progenitor Cells (DEP). We are largely thinking machines, so to speak. Though, given the new tech booms and shifts over the last few decades, this hasn’t been necessarily taken as a given. We’ve had to grit our teeth through both industry and technology to continually reinvent ourselves. Furthermore, there’s a lot of work being done in our current day to take a leap forward. A few instances come to mind: there’s AI, machine learning, machine learners, and virtual reality. It seems that the tools are finally available to help us tap into the aspect of our brains that is innately human.

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