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?

  • Online learning is still growing in all sectors for education - especially k-12. Many states in the US have requirements for students to take an online class before they can graduate high school. These types of requirements show the importance of learning online to higher ed, parents and employers. There are many ways to incorporate online learning into classrooms, whether flipping, hybrid or fully online curriculum - the options are just starting to emerge. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 19, 2014
  • Online learning has been growing in significance for a number of years. It is almost a redundant question to ask why this technology is relevant to providing educational opportunities to a vast number of individuals who would not otherwise have access.- crocky1959 crocky1959 Feb 20, 2014

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

  • Typically online, this gives students the option to be creators, just not regurgitators of information.- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 19, 2014
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Online learning has the opportunity to give freedom for students (and parents) to choose a different way to learn. This type of delivery might be better suited for students and give them opportunity to be more creative and thoughtful in delivering/synthesis of information - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 19, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.