Procastinators shouldn’t use online learning because it is inherently dangerous.
Why Procastinators Should Never Use Online Learning
Nothing replaces face-to-face interactions with a community. Meetups, casual in-person conversations and office events are all great ways to practice how to behave in a professional environment. One could argue that social media is almost a substitute for face-to-face interaction. You can find everyone you know on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so why bother joining a more exclusive Facebook group? You can post a Status Update about your job search and others will almost immediately respond. You don’t need to present your work to the world and, unlike a coffee shop conversation, you won’t miss out on having opinions or response time.
However, if you use online learning courses, the opposite is true. Online learning tends to take up as much time as face-to-face learning. You’ll never meet the person you’re learning from as a course instructor, and they’ll likely not recognize you as a student.
One thing is certain: with online learning there is no contact between the teacher and students. You will be speaking to someone sitting in a room, surrounded by books, while conducting your own conversations. Students encounter their instructor in their own way, in their own classroom. They may have some connection with the instructor, but never on a personal level.
What’s more, of the over 4,000 online learning courses offered, most lack a personal connection. Facilitating discussions does not add value to the experience, and I’m sure this is not lost on them. I used to run a workshop and several of my courses are still available online. I still get inquiries and I’ve heard from some of my former students who used my course materials to complete their lessons and still use me as an informal college professor.
For most students, the online learning experience really undercuts the value of your living. You’re communicating to the instructor, not the student. They may understand a topic, but they’re not actively asking questions or participating in the conversation. In my workshops, we had deep, intelligent conversations and some even had connections or raised ideas with one another. It took me less than a week for them to build a network, and they have been friends for years. In my last workshop, all of the students had a very positive experience. But they all commented on how I didn’t give them any specific feedback or outcomes. In the end, it was the instructor that left the lasting impression, not the actual engagement with the students.
This isn’t a negative critique of online learning courses. But when creating your course, look closely at the face-to-face interactions. Listening will give you more insight into how students actually engage with their instructors and what that person thinks of your course. Reaching out to someone who is invested in their experience and their skills is a great way to discuss next steps with a student.
Don’t forget the important balance. You want to build your course and have plenty of time and resources for the interactions. Don’t assume that you won’t have to interact and that that isn’t a good thing. In fact, having that opportunity will often help you create deeper and more meaningful relationships with students and demonstrate to the professor that your course is worthy of further investment.
Your online learning experiences shouldn’t end there. New projects and assignments are a wonderful way to incorporate interaction into your course. Look into community events, events and services such as co-ops. You can help and be part of the community you’re helping to create.
So be careful when using online learning. If you’re using them as a substitute for offline experiences, you may find yourself regretting it in the near future.