For a long time, online learning did not find enough resources and attention. Both instructors and learners shrugged its benefits under the assumption that it is only a stop-gap arrangement for those who cannot be physically present. But look around. No matter how challenging, the current crisis has been an eye-opener for many naysayers and online courses’ skeptics. Today, from schools to colleges, universities, and corporate training departments, everyone is leveraging the power of online learning.
It has been established that online can be an excellent medium for learning anywhere, anytime, and from anyone. But what has also been revealed is the substantial interactive and engagement value that only online courses are creating for many niche segments and learners.
Faster and better learning
Just rewind your memory to an offline course or a traditional classroom. Yes, it was a relief to have both the mentor/coach and students present in the same room. But here a few questions to ponder.
- Did such a course tap into the much-needed element of letting the two sides interact?
- Did it allow students to take part?
- Did it give them enough scope to question and to clarify their doubts?
- Could they find time and room to apply their lessons?
- Could they ever do any follow-up networking, application, or revisions without arranging an entire class all over again?
The chances are that, more often than not, these courses were one-directional monologues. However, what online learning does is inject a never-before element of two-dimensional interaction in the same course. It makes the class an actual dialogue. And no matter how many people are in there–the quality stays the same.
As walls get redundant, the cognitive walls also get crumbled when a course is offered online. Here’s what happens in well-designed, carefully constructed, and diligently empowered online courses.
- The learners get the flexibility to organize their lessons, the order, the pace, the time, the depth, and the format–this gives the course a very personalized touch, enabling the students to take the optimum gains out of the time spent here.
- Over-the-shoulder proximity and affinity between the instructor and learner create a deep association that allows them to interact on a one-on-one level, seldom possible in a physical classroom. The instructor can now spot the exact time and reason for any errors or doubts arising at the student’s end. Directly, the students can engage in a deep conversation and get answers unique to their needs.
- In a well-executed course, the students find a lot of elasticity and scalability, which add to their learning curve trajectories. Cloud and automation, coupled with new-age technology accessories, help to make the course accessible, affordable, and simple in many aspects.
- The instructor can use a variety of resources to make the learning material more exciting and fun. This allows them to cultivate high-retention rates and employable skills after a course is conducted. Gamification, participation, and networking are quickly injected in a smart course delivered this way.
- The learner is not a dormant entity in these courses. S/he can also add to, change, test, and challenge any part of the lesson because the course gives the right tools here. The students can, themselves, personalize, design, and re-organize a course without causing interruptions or friction for other students.
- Practice, application-oriented lessons, and incremental learning get a new power and place in these tech-driven courses.
So let us stop assuming that online learning is a temporary phenomenon like remote-working or online-meetings. The potential of online learning has now moved to so many new propositions. No wonder the online education market size in India is expected to grow by USD 14.33 billion during 2020-2024, as per TechNavio’s estimates. The drivers are high internet penetration, the crisis-led needs, the rise of smartphone usage, and the government’s initiatives towards digitization. But what is also essential to observe is, they are now more than standby options. They can add speed and shrink distance for sure. But they can also compellingly expand the learning outcomes. They break not just walls but many boundaries too.