What is Online Learning?

Online learning is not new; the category encompasses any learning that takes place through web-based platforms, whether formal or informal. The learning can be structured like as in traditional courses or entirely self-paced. What has made the topic new is the recent and unprecedented focus on providing learning via the Internet that has been stimulated by the tremendous interest in massive open online courses (MOOCs). What is new in this space is that online learning has “come of age;” the design of online learning is (more and more) specifically intended to encompass the latest research, the most promising developments, and new emerging business models in the online learning environment. At many institutions, online learning is an area newly ripe for experimentation — some would argue it is undergoing a sea change, with every dimension of the process open for reconceptualization. On campuses around the globe, virtually every aspect of how students connect with institutions and each other to learn online is being reworked, rethought, and redone — but it will be some time yet before ideas coalesce enough to be validated by research and implemented broadly.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • ~- nuria.desalvador nuria.desalvador I do not think and I do not wish that online learning will be relevant in secondary in Europe, except in especial situations, such as hospitalized students. Compulsory education is also about learning to socialize with others and growing up in face to face environments. However, I see blended learning as something that is growing and that is having an impact in the way students and teachers interact. I wonder why you have not consider it here.
  • Online learning does not necessarily mean that learners/teacher are being at a distance, but rather the use of web-based platforms in the learning process. Even elementary schools can make good use of this! More and more schools make use of platforms like Edmodo https://www.edmodo.com/ to provide a digital holder of tasks, administration, discussions, homework, voting, ... etc. which is not just a digital form of activities and contributions, but an excellent way of practicing digital literacy and citizenship. I personally prefer Edu 2.0
    http://www.edu20.org (which we translated to Hungarian and external image arrow-10x10.png it along teacher education) as it is highly configurable and provides enhanced evaluation tools as well. - tszmarta tszmarta Oct 24, 2013 - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Nov 3, 2013 - stefania.bocconi stefania.bocconi Nov 3, 2013
  • FYI just a recent article on how digital writing is making kids smarter http://www.graphite.org/blog/how-digital-writing-is-making-kids-smarter - tszmarta tszmarta Oct 24, 2013
  • For the sector I am working in( teacher training ) , elearning is ideal. In Greece , but also in many other countries, there are economic problems , and transportation problems of the educators in the cities, where training programs are held. In many cases there is no significant funding for the training programs , and the deployment of teachers is time-consuming and result in their absence from their lessons . With the use of distance learningall these are overcome and many teachers who live far from urban centers have the opportunity to attend training. An important benefit is that through these technologies , learning is personalized. Each educator can learn whatever he wishes , in the time he wishes and at his own pace. - ikomninou ikomninou Nov 2, 2013
  • In my experience in higher education, blended learning solutions have the potential to enrich the teaching/learning processes, by offering new means for their observability, and hence for their monitoring and formative and summative assessment. - stefania.bocconi stefania.bocconi Nov 3, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - nuria.desalvador nuria.desalvador Oct 21, 2013 Imentioned in one, blended learning is not mentioned.
  • I agree: blended learning should be integrated - tszmarta tszmarta Oct 24, 2013
  • I am not quite clear whether you are referring to studying online in the sense of learning and being assessed, or whether you are also referring to dealing with administrative matters such as notifying parents by email when a student has failed to hand in their homework. It might be useful in the publication to be quite explicit about which aspect of online learning is being discussed because the issues are different. - paul paul Nov 3, 2013
  • I also agree that blended learning should be added, and how the potential of blended learning solutions can only be captured by solidly integrating the process of instructional design with that of monitoring and assessment - stefania.bocconi stefania.bocconi Nov 3, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • - nuria.desalvador nuria.desalvador Oct 21, 2013 learning designs helps the student to become competent in IT in real situations. Collaborative projects create blended environments, but blended learning is not limited to them.
  • I beleive that these technologies contribute highly to digital literacy and the practice of digital citizenship. - tszmarta tszmarta Oct 24, 2013
  • I believe that the result of these technologies for the classroom will be important , because a more learner-centered school will become a reality . This kind of learning is based on the initiative of the learner who learns at his own pace and his own needs whateverb he wishes. Therefore , learning is personalized and student-centered . I also believe that students with learning difficulties, or different learning styles can meet their needs through this learning , because they are not required to be in the classroom environment , which sometimes causes them stress , thus learn in a short time enormous quantities information . - ikomninou ikomninou Nov 2, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • - nuria.desalvador nuria.desalvador Oct 21, 2013 I am extremely interested in the scaffolding effect public error correction in individual portfolios can have in the EFL class. This is impossible without a blended design. I am starting a phd on this, but I am sure many other people must have noticed the same potential. I have read articles on this, so I do not think I am discovering the wheel. The big problem is always how you put it into practice in a concrete context.
  • In many counties in Europe, I have also seen schools setting up different on-line services for parents to be able to monitor their child's progress. In Hungary @Naplo (digital school diary) is very popular
    http://www.e-naplo.hu/termekek.html and each country has developed own platforms with very different configurations, e.g. Godoy school in Norway uses mobile services to inform parents about unforeseen events. In many places FaceBook pages are created for similar purposes or some kind of platform is mounted on the school server to administer classes and home-works as well as embed on-line materials or playful interactives that can be used in class or at home. More and more publishers extend their printed books with webpages that contain digital materials for teachers to use in class as well as exercises for in-class use or as homework. A good example in Hungary is Mozaik Publishing
    http://www.mozaweb.hu/ which creates high quality digital materials. Not to forget mentioning Educatio School Net, which has actually covered the full National Curricula with digital materials
    http://tudasbazis.sulinet.hu/hu and created community spaces for teachers. - tszmarta tszmarta Oct 24, 2013
  • There are several projects working towards this direction. I have implemented eTwinning and Euro-Asian class projects , based on this kind of learning. But in Greece many teachers use the online classroom for the development of their courses and projects. A major thrust has been given by the enriched textbook , which is an innovation in Greece as well as worldwide, as the teacher has abundant digital resources to organize his lesson electronically. - ikomninou ikomninou Nov 2, 2013
  • I suspect the best examples of online learning in British schools are in learning a foreign language, where the teacher might ask the students to do their homework online by logging on to a language-learning site like Linguascope or BBC Bitesize and working through an exercise to learn vocabulary or to practise listening skills. Such sites seem to be very effective and the use of the them is likely to increase as more and more school children can access the internet at home. The use of such sites at school is of course well established, where a suitable computer suite or language lab is available.- paul paul Nov 3, 2013
  • An existing initiative using online learning to social inclusion is Notschool, is an international 'Online Learning Community' offering an alternative to traditional education for students aged 14-16 years who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to engage with school or other complementary provisions such as home tutoring or specialist units http://www.notschool.net/notschool.html - stefania.bocconi stefania.bocconi Nov 3, 2013

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