The Future of Online Learning
Online Learning is here to stay and will transform the way we approach education.
Over the past few months, I've committed hundreds of hours to studying online. These are my thoughts, concerns and predictions so far:
1. It's here to stay
Once you move past the stage of saying that you want to learn, and actually prioritise learning, you realise how good online learning can be. There's an abundance of high-quality information in audio, video and written forms. It's available in multiple languages and taught in multiple ways. You select the style which works for you.
There are enough people who truly want to learn, and will make use of these resources, that online learning will continue to grow.
2. It's an incredible enabler
Regardless of what you want to learn, there are free resources to learn it. YouTube, Khan Academy, journal articles - the list is long, and these tools enable you to learn anything.
These resources are available to people all over the world. As access to the internet improves worldwide, more and more people will be able to access these learning resources. It'll no longer be a case of accessibility, but merely whether you want to learn and whether you're willing to put in the effort.
3. High-agency wins
A concern: It's too easy to sit back and passively consume content. Putting the videos on 2x speed and watching them while thinking about something else doesn't mean learning.
This is the biggest problem with online learning, because despite being aware of it, people continue to do it. As long as people do it, they'll continue to say that online learning is ineffective.
I cannot stress enough how important this is. You have to take the content, and learn it with rigour. Teach it to somebody, write a post about it, practice it until you can't practice any more. It's the only way to learn it properly, and do justice to the wealth of information out there.
Prediction: The company who is able to make learning more interactive and focused on learning instead of consuming, will be a winner in the education race.
4. There's no space for poor teachers
The best teachers - the ones who create an environment for effective learning - will have millions of students. Poor teachers - the ones who merely read information - will be made redundant. Who would choose a poor teacher over a great one when the cost is the exact same?
5. Tools to aid learning are vital
Tools which aid learning and make it easier to avoid passive consumption are more important than you realise. Something like a whiteboard allows you to learn interactively. It transforms the learning experience and makes you hungry for more. This is what learning should be about.
6. Online learning creates life-long learners
As online learning experience improves, and as the benefits are felt by more people, lifelong learners will be created.
Online learning makes it easier to work and study, and easier to have a family and study. This, combined with the growing cost and displeasure with formal education, will see popularity rise and ignite a passion for learning. Short but intense courses (such as Udacity's 6-month nano degrees) will be very popular.
If you're an online learner or working in the online education space, I'd love to connect. The experience has plenty of room for improvement, and this improvement is made faster by learning from others. Find me on Twitter or drop me an Email.