What makes for good online learning?

Written by Phil Garing

What makes for good online learning?

Perhaps one ofrepparttar strongest temptations when approaching online solutions is to start by converting existing training resources into web resources. Since much face-to-face delivery is backed up by print materials, putting print documents online is often a popular starting point. If learners are academic, highly motivated and good at organising their study, they'll probably cope with large volumes of text. They'll print it out, read it, file it logically and use it.

Is thisrepparttar 109421 profile you're dealing with? Probably not. The reality is thatrepparttar 109422 Web is a visual medium. It's also true that reading large amounts of text from a screen is unpleasant and learners will avoid it where possible.

One ofrepparttar 109423 other advantages of online learning is that content can be linked and accessed in non-linear ways. Large blocks of text online can limitrepparttar 109424 potential to make learning a dynamic process.

The challenge is to design education and training solutions that draw onrepparttar 109425 strengths ofrepparttar 109426 media selected. Future updaters will pick up on educational design as a tool for achieving this.

Generic development/delivery tools, what's out there?

The last 5 years have seen a raft of Learning Management Systems (LMSs) hitrepparttar 109427 market. They offer, in varying degrees,repparttar 109428 ability to develop, deliver and administer online learning solutions. Mainstream products include:

"TopClass" (http://www.wbtsystems.com/), "Learning Space" (http://www.lotus.com/home.nsf abs/learnspace), "WebCT" (http://homebrew.cs.ubc.ca/webct/), "Web Crossing" (http://webcrossing.com/) "CourseInfo" (http://product.blackboard.net/CourseInfo/) "FirstClass" (http://www.firstclass.com/)

Core features generally include: - file structures for making materials available online - chat and bulletin board communication systems - administration systems for managing students' progress

Each touts a list a mile long of institutions that use them, but in our experience, often only part ofrepparttar 109429 product is used. For example,repparttar 109430 communication and student management facilities of FirstClass are popular, but some organisations choose not to use it for content delivery for various technical reasons.

If subscribers have an opinion on a particular LMS, they're invited to forward it to us. We'll collate your responses and feed them back torepparttar 109431 list....

Adapting for online delivery: Is Online the best option?

Written by Phil Garing

Advocates of total online training solutions point torepparttar following sorts of advantages forrepparttar 109420 learner: -Learn anywhere at any time -Fit learning around personal commitments -Access a wide range of resources

And forrepparttar 109421 producer of learning materials, it means: -Potentially lower delivery costs -Access to wider groups of learners -Organisation-wide delivery of training -Integration with organisational goals such as knowledge management and organisational change

Totally valid reasons and significant benefits that justify considering online delivery of education. However they are not enough on their own to justify assuming an online solution is best. There are three main issues: 1. The online environment will not suit some learners 2. There may be other combinations of delivery tools that dorepparttar 109422 job better 3. There are some distinct disadvantages as well

The learners Online learning works well for learners that have moderate or better computing abilities. It is easy to underestimaterepparttar 109423 skills required. Challenges include managing internet connections, using browsers, downloading plugins or third party software, trouble shooting and file management. They also need to be good at managing their own time and competing commitments. Learners who need extensive support in managing their study programme may well not complete. This profile is not limited to people new to study. Those with extensive work commitments often drop out despite high initial motivation and good study skills.

Other Tools Despite improvements in bandwidth, few online training courses offerrepparttar 109424 degree of interaction found in classrooms or on CD Rom multimedia products. While technologies such as streaming media and videoconferencing do offer high end solutions, they are only useful ifrepparttar 109425 learners have genuine access to them: fast connections and current hardware and software.

These issues may not be relevant ifrepparttar 109426 content can be taught using lower level technological solutions. Often however, such solutions lead to superficial learning of facts only. There is a real danger in assuming that such solutions will lead to significant training outcomes. Everyone may complete, and pass, but will they have actually learned anything useful? More on this when we discuss designing for online learning.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
ImproveHomeLife.com © 2005
Terms of Use