Online learning is a form of distance learning or distance learning that has long been part of the American education system, and in recent years it has become the largest department of distance, for the purpose of this review Literature Both hybrid and blended learning and purely online learning are considered online learning because most of the literature compares these two formats with traditional face-to-face. Purely online courses are courses that are taught entirely over the Internet, and hybrid or blended learning combines traditional personal lessons, online learning, and learning supported by other technologies.
Every year, more and more people prefer studying online. Moreover, they do not just study, but successfully master new educational programs and even change their profession. This spread of online learning is associated with the rapid development of communication technologies, among which a special place is occupied by the global Internet. There are more and more opportunities and tools for organizing a high-quality educational process, so the number of online projects that offer training courses and other advanced training services is constantly growing.
And this is not surprising, since the world is very dynamic, and yesterday's information very quickly ceases to be relevant. As a result, in order to master the skill demanded in the labor market, it is far from always necessary to graduate from a university. Sometimes it’s much easier, faster and more effective to go through online training. There is another side to the coin: if earlier a person in most cases had to work all his life in the profession acquired at the institute, today he can radically change it, having turned, say, from a mathematics teacher to a Java developer or Data Scientist. Or, as a lawyer, become a marketer.
Well, let's talk in more detail about what are the pros and cons of distance education.
There are quite a few advantages to online learning, here are just a few of them:
- Training takes place at any time. It's no secret that online education is flexible. For example, you do not have to sit in the audience at the appointed time. And although most courses are held in the evening, the student can always see the lesson in the recording if the lesson was missed. And this is not to mention that tasks for self-fulfillment can also be done at any convenient time by sending reports online.
- Any place is suitable for training. You can be at home, in the village, in the country, or even resting under a palm tree. The main thing is good internet. That is, you live a familiar life, plus you gain new knowledge. The lack of geographical restrictions is one of the main advantages of distance education.
- More affordable tuition. In most cases, you will pay less with online education than with traditional education. This is due to the fact that the organization of the educational process eliminates the cost of premises and equipment.
- Practitioners are usually involved in training. Theorists often teach at universities, therefore, after graduating from a university, a student remains a “white sheet” or faces a number of problems when using his knowledge on real projects. High-quality online training involves attracting practitioners who themselves work in branded companies.
- Broad communication opportunities for the exchange of information. All participants in online training constantly communicate with each other in chats and instant messengers. As a result, a professional community is formed, communication in which continues even after graduation. All this allows you to constantly «be in the subject», share experiences, cases, news, optimization techniques, etc.
Cons of Online Learning
Pros are good, but there are also disadvantages:
- Poor quality of communication. Learning will become impossible or simply uncomfortable if your Internet connection is poor. Today it is rare even in remote regions, but problems do occur. And most often, these difficulties are faced by travelers or lovers to combine training with outdoor recreation.
- Oversaturation of information. The problem relates more to those people who decide to study on their own, using open sources and recorded video courses. There are so many pseudo-educational products on the market that training can turn into an ineffective occupation. Excess information is more likely to hinder than to help. In addition, you can easily encounter already outdated content, wasting time in vain.
- Lack of skills. Sometimes, in order to successfully master the chosen profession, you first need to master specialized programs and tools, having passed additional training.
- Lack of communication. It is important for some to see the teacher and classmates live in front of them. But this is rather a psychological aspect.
- Inability to organize an independent learning process. When you don’t need to leave home and go somewhere to study, it relaxes and disturbs concentration. Therefore, you need to clearly understand why you are studying, and what is your goal. The most effective, as a rule, are paid courses, because by giving your own money you will gain an additional incentive.
Obviously, the above disadvantages of online learning are not critical, and in most cases they can be overcome. Moreover, practice shows that with the correct organization of the educational process and with high motivation, the student manages to achieve very decent results.
Researchers found that students using mixed methods using Peer Wise methods, a newly created online pedagogical tool that allows students to write, share, answer, discuss, and rate multiple choice questions, with virtually no instructor input, are better learning outcomes and improved learning perceptions as well as learning motivation (Feeley & Parris, 2012). To further develop the use and effectiveness of PeerWise, a study of the impact of virtual achievements, the icon-based achievement system of PeerWise, in a large randomized control study showed that a significant positive effect on the number of student contributions without a corresponding loss of quality (Denny, 2013). As online learning evolves into the virtual environment, more and more aspects of the “game” are added, the use of game mechanics and virtual achievements in non-gaming contexts to attract users to the virtual environment, to increase the involvement of tasks and reduce loss (Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011; Huotari & Hamari, 2012; Kapp, 2012).
Although there are positive results for the effectiveness of online learning, it is still unclear that this is usually true in all studies. Under the leadership of the US Department of Education, a team of researchers from Stanford International Research Institute conducted a systematic literature search from 1996 to 2008 and identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning (Means et al., 2010). In a meta-analysis that used strict research selection criteria that used a rigorous research project, compared online learning with a traditional format, quantified student learning outcomes and provided sufficient information to calculate the effect size, the researchers analyzed 45 studies and, on average, they found that students in the online format perform modestly better than in the traditional format. The difference in student learning outcomes was greater in studies in which interactive elements were combined face-to-face, and these mixed conditions often included additional learning time and learning elements not received by students in control settings. The differences in how online learning was implemented did not significantly affect student learning outcomes, but it should be noted that there are few studies for this particular study (N = 13). The researchers concluded that the combination of time, curriculum, and online pedagogy caused an observed difference in learning outcomes, but there was no evidence that online learning excels as a learning tool, consistent with previous literature (Bernard et al., 2004; Clark, 1994). Researchers noted that several rigorous K-12 studies were conducted, so their results may not necessarily be summarized in the K-12 settings.
It should be emphasized that this original work by Means et al. is one of the most cited and respected meta-analyzes to date (Lack, 2013). It sets a very high standard for meta-analytic work, and its main conclusion is that school results are better for online learning than the traditional format, modest but nonetheless significant.
How to understand that the student really listened to the webinar?
Conduct a webinar so that the student is actively involved, not just listening. Give tasks with mandatory performance, conduct surveys and tests, contact participants by name, and also use the functionality of the webinar platform to monitor the fact of presence.
How to be sure that after a course or a webinar a student will really learn something?
Set the right learning goals that you can achieve in an e-course format. Not all tasks can be implemented in an online format. You won’t be able to teach sales with the help of a course, trainer or webinar. But online support can provide that part of the sales topic that students can explore on their own. And then, in a group with a trainer, work out only the most important practical part, without spending valuable full-time training on broadcasting a list of the main stages of sales or the most common objections.
How to understand that online learning is effective?
The answer to the question is very simple. You just need to think in this direction, try the methods, methods of measurement and evaluation, collect feedback and interact with the business to understand the criteria by which the company understands that students are trained well. In parallel, delve into the methods of online learning, the features of using various tools and the functionality of platform solutions in the LMS format and webinar classes.
The last important point that is worth noting: the company must have an understanding that the introduction and development of online learning affects the business processes in the company. This entails analysis of products and services, customization of software systems, synchronization of systems and business processes. The introduction of e-learning, even with primary needs, to cover the lack of information and create a single database of learning resources, is becoming an indicator. The fact that there is a well-thought-out and well-organized online learning process in the company will show where the weaknesses are and what needs to be worked on.
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