Online learning is so very different from stand-up training that it is good to take pause to think about it. Yes, both approaches have their benefits and disadvantages, but the ramifications of online learning are huge. First, here are ten things that make self-paced learning courses exceedingly valuable. Then we’ll examine the implications.
- You can learn at your own pace.
- You can stop to look up definitions.
- You can review what you want to review.
- You can control the volume of the “teacher.”
- You can comfortably learn in your own style.
- You can stop and think about what you are learning.
- You don’t have to fly around the country for training.
- You can follow along while doing the task you are learning.
- The content is consistent for everyone who takes the course.
- You usually have an opportunity to interact, practice, or check your knowledge.
What It Means
The themes that underlie these ten valuable attributes could conceivably change the world as we know it. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. The implications are that someday, learning will be accessible to everyone with an Internet connection, provided individual governments allow full access. This could ultimately result in raising the literacy and educational levels of people around the world.
The ten attributes also imply that learners are gaining more control over their educational space. Although in traditional eLearning, learners don’t design the content, they have greater control over their learning environment and can modify it to meet their learning and life styles. In the world of Web 2.0, learners will have even greater control, by contributing their own content through Wikis and online presentation tools. Either way, learners are beginning to create their own curriculums by choosing to learn what they want.
Finally, online learning helps individuals become self-didacts, going against the pedagogy of most traditional educational systems. As such, there is the potential for people to challenge entrenched belief systems and harmful philosophies to search for the truth in diverse areas of study.
As instructional designers and online content developers, we can spread the word about the positive effects of online learning.
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