Podcast: Tom Vander Ark Discusses How Online Learning Is Shaping the Educational Landscape (10:33)

Vander Ark talks about some recent trends and his preferences for online learning.  He tends toward blended learning for most students.

The educational landscape is continually being changed by new innovations in online learning.  Online learning solutions provide access to high-quality course materials, which can be administrated in a cost-effective manner.

For school districts looking to embrace online learning, this new approach to learning also provides a method for offering blended classes and is ideal for advanced courses in STEM and foreign languages.  And it is a great way to leverage talented teachers, and to provide new career options for many of your teachers.

These are some of the key insights from a recent podcast interview with Tom Vander Ark, who is the author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World.

As an advocate for innovations that customize and motivate learning and extend access, Tom is also the CEO of Getting Smart, a learning advocacy firm and is a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in education technology startups.

“Course” versus “Learning Experience”

Inside Higher Ed Icon

by Carl Straumsheim @ Insider Higher Ed

Straumsheim has an interesting piece over at Inside Higher Ed about what to call MOOCs.  He quotes Harvard Faculty Director Robert A. Lue on the conversations they have had on campus about this change in online.  He points out that the traditional 90-minute lecture has not translated well to the online environment.  He says that faculty were encouraged to follow the Khan Academy model of breaking things up into modules that cover no more than one concept.  He added, “When those modules are freed from the time constraints of a semester or quarter, the end result bears only some resemblance to a course.”

“It really does reflect in my view a real sea change in how we’re thinking about education,” Lue said. “The word [course] is still meaningful, but I feel strongly that as a defining term, it is increasingly less defining of all the different options that we want to have.”

Lue compared the breakdown of courses into modules to textbooks and chapters. “It’s very hard to use a course in another course, while once you modularize into these more discrete learning experiences, it’s so much easier to share,” he said.

The rest of the article contains some interesting in sights into the changes going on in technology, MOOC partnerships, and the rethinking of content and its delivery.

Full post is here.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/28/online-course-providers-increasingly-using-term-learning-experience#ixzz2j80NMwe7
Inside Higher Ed

Technology, Millennials, and “The Future of Education”

Millennial Branding and Internships.com have released a survey of 1,345 college students (conducted in May 2013) on online learning.  While 78% still believe that it is easier to learn in a traditional classroom setting, millennials show an openness to online courses and a value of learning in non-traditional settings.  Other key statistics of the study:

  • 84% use a computer in the classroom
  • 57% believe internships are most important when developing their business skills.
  • 53% believe that online colleges are reputable
  • 50% say they don’t need a physical classroom
  • 43% say that online education will provide them with courses of the equal or higher quality to traditional colleges
  • 39% see the future of education as more virtual
  • 19% say they will use social media to engage in the classroom
  • 12% consider colleges courses are most important when developing their business skills.

Millennial’s post on the survey is available here.

While these firms have a vested interest in online education and internship programs, it is interesting that they clearly indicate students prefer face-to-face classes.  However, they are very open to online courses, the use of technology in support of education, and valuing non-traditional forms of learning as highly as a traditional college education.

Effective Online Learning Environments

In “Toward a Theory of Online Learning,” Terry Anderson examines the “How People Learn” (HPL) scholarship of Brandsford, Brown, and Cocking within the context of online learning.  Anderson refers to the HPL literature as the “new science of learning.” (p. 35)

In their HPL research, Brandsford, Brown, and Cocking, found that effective learning environments are constructed at the convergence of four “lenses” [Anderson’s term]. As Anderson points out, in HPL theory “effective learning is learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered.” Continue reading “Effective Online Learning Environments”