Thursday, August 5, 2010
Is Face-to-Face Learning As Good As Online?
Some of our Life Strategies Ltd. staff recently attended a webinar titled Online Effectiveness: Making Your Case. In this session panellist presented on how to structure and market online programs, with a lot of the discussion centred around getting students and faculty to buy-in to the value of online learning. It seems that providers of online education, such as us, constantly have to make a case for the quality and rigor of online programs.
One of the panellists suggested that we may need to reverse our thinking about online learning to consider if face-to-face is as good as online? It’s not fair to assume that just because a course is online, it’s of lesser quality. Students need to look at the format of the program (e.g., is it facilitated online learning, independent study, webinars, blogs), the content and depth of the program, and who the instructor/developer is. Also, consider how grades are allotted (e.g., assignments, discussions, exams, or are they provided at all). All these factors play a role in the quality and rigor of online programs.
In addition, students need to do their homework and figure out if online learning is an appropriate fit. Life Strategies Ltd. has an online readiness quiz (http://lifestrategies.ca/pdf/onlineReadinessQuiz.pdf). Take a look and see if you’re ready for online learning.
Lastly, reflect on what type of student you are. If you learn better in a traditional classroom setting then try mixed-mode courses which incorporate the best of both worlds. Learning works best when you’re engaged in the discussion and activities, whether it’s online or face-to-face.