Which Of The Following Statements About Online Learning Is True?

The world is crazy these days and we want to improve our lives. We want better jobs, more funding for education, better customers for businesses and, above all, we want to transform the way we learn.

Not everyone knows how to code but it doesn’t mean you have to hire someone else to teach you.

Ah, online learning. You may bemoan the economy and think that the only job opportunities left are for on-demand drone delivery and grilling ticks that’ll kill your parrot, but online learning is here to help. It’s being heralded as a massive innovation that will continue to reshape the educational landscape.

Facebook’s longtime chief product officer announced last month that the social media giant plans to release a video-based platform that will become an uber competitive landscape in a few years. Mark Zuckerberg declared that Video will be the social interaction platform of the next decade and Facebook just might be right about that.

And in March of this year, Mastercard announced that it planned to invest $25 million to create the first CyberCourse, where anyone can sign up to learn and take advantage of its initiative to advance cybersecurity.

With apps like Codecademy, Coursera, Khan Academy, and The Lauging Bundle, you no longer have to pay to learn how to code.

Here are a few “facts” I’ve personally heard regarding online learning:

There are more than 12 million online courses. You have to be 18 to sign up for Codecademy but that’s only the beginning. There are practically infinite course topics. The course menu is pretty broad—many of the classes are not about coding specifically. It’s about open-ended learning, doing and building skills for the life of you. There are more than 10 million registered members. While I strongly disagree with that idea, there’s no denying the fact that more people are using these sites, making it easier for them to create their own skills. Coursera says they enrolled a quarter of a million new members last month alone and expect 2 million students to use the platform this year. These numbers, however, only speak to the companies who offer courses, not to the students themselves. This statement, from NBC News , seems a bit deceptive:

It appears that millions of students are taking classes offered through these sites. I couldn’t find any fact or chart to back this claim up, but if you look at Alexa’s free app chart, there are really no large, free apps that teach how to code. Some of these apps do offer a good deal of documentation, which can certainly keep you going during your training.

However, I can only speak from my own experience. There are endless open-ended classes about fields that you’ve never even heard of. For instance, I tried out Lady Gaga’s Inner Circle, a Foursquare-based fan club that helps connect artists with their fans. Lady Gaga also offers popular courses that cover everything from writing to makeup, photography, and veganism. Coursera lets you review courses and rate them (now you just need to make sure you actually have time to watch the other ones).

Once you start to add it all up, I can’t really keep up with what is and isn’t currently offered. I don’t think the world will reach a point where we won’t have thousands of great courses but then again, I doubt anyone predicted that 5 billion people would use Facebook, much less understand it.

Online learning is here to stay, and while it’s certainly disruptive in how it’s changing the education landscape, it’s not leading to only online schools and colleges. Everything from private and public schools to urban campuses like University of Phoenix have adopted this innovative model.

Online schooling has become so widespread that it has developed “standards” that allow students to compete with each other and even with their state school for state-based scholarships and grants. Have you heard the story of Aleksey Sherenovich, a student at Union University in Tennessee?

Over the summer, Aleksey scored the largest scholarship on that school’s website in its history—$20,000. The scholarship was for computer science with a 3.75 grade point average.

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