Important Trends in Online Education


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Important Trends in Online Education. A presentation at Online Educa, Berlin, December 3, 2004.

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Important Trends in Online Education

  1. 1. Important Trends in Online Education Morten Flate Paulsen Professor of Online Education Slides available at: A presentation at Online Educa, Berlin, December 3, 2004.
  2. 2. NKI Internet College: <ul><li>Operated by NKI Distance Education ( </li></ul><ul><li>Online education since 1987 </li></ul><ul><li>Broad specter of subjects from secondary to master level </li></ul><ul><li>Presently 6000 online students in at least 34 countries </li></ul><ul><li>63 % women </li></ul><ul><li>426 distance education courses online </li></ul><ul><li>You may start whenever you like </li></ul><ul><li>Individual progress plans </li></ul><ul><li>Always room for more students </li></ul><ul><li>Exams at local schools and embassies </li></ul><ul><li>Online students get better grades </li></ul>September 2004
  3. 3. E-book about E-learning <ul><li>Part Four: International Trends and Future Developments </li></ul><ul><li>Part One: Online Education, Teaching, and Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Part Two: Commercial and Self-developed Learning Management Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Part Three: Global E-learning in a Nordic Perspective </li></ul>Online Education and Learning Management Systems Global E-learning in a Scandinavian Perspective
  4. 4. 15 years – 1K <ul><li>Both the number of online students and the number of online courses have increased by a magnitude of 1,000. </li></ul><ul><li>The bandwidth has increased by a magnitude of 1000, from 300 bits per second to 300,000 bits per second (i.e. from text to video) </li></ul>
  5. 5. About evolution <ul><li>These evolutionary developments were visible 15 years ago and not hard to predict. </li></ul><ul><li>The only really revolutionary development in online education was the introduction of the Web. This development, which nobody foresaw, had the largest impact on online education. </li></ul>Source: Online Education, Page 286
  6. 6. But… <ul><li>… written communication, perhaps the most important part of online teaching and learning, has not changed much. </li></ul><ul><li>Most communication still consists of plain text, and the time it takes to turn on the computer, receive e-mail and compose messages has not been reduced. </li></ul>Source: Online Education, Page 287
  7. 7. … and… <ul><li>Online pedagogy has not improved much </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of Internet is threatened by virus attacks, spam and advertising… </li></ul>
  8. 8. Important trends <ul><li>The large-scale mega trend, </li></ul><ul><li>The systems integration trend, </li></ul><ul><li>The market trend, </li></ul><ul><li>The mobile trend, </li></ul><ul><li>The broadband and multimedia trend, </li></ul><ul><li>The globalization trend. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The large-scale mega trend <ul><li>The current mega trend shows clearly that online education is shifting from small-scale experiments to large-scale operations. </li></ul>The large-scale mega trend
  10. 10. Towards large-scale systems <ul><li>The Web-edu project shows that this trend has come further in the Nordic countries than in other European regions. </li></ul><ul><li>2002: 12 of 20 Nordic institutions offer at least 50 online courses. </li></ul><ul><li>1999: 3 of 22 Nordic institutions offered more than 50 online courses. </li></ul>The large-scale mega trend
  11. 11. The mega trend requires industrialization of online education The large-scale mega trend <ul><li>Division of labor </li></ul><ul><li>Increased efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Automation </li></ul><ul><li>Cost reduction </li></ul>
  12. 12. In higher education… <ul><li>Online education becomes mainstream education in Scandinavia. Before year 2000, typical universities piloted a few online courses with some pioneering students. Today, they are implementing online education services to all their students. </li></ul><ul><li>… a Sloan Consortium study of online learning in American higher education shows that 97.6% of all public higher education institutions in the USA offer online learning degree programmes and courses, either as fully online programmes or as hybrid (blended) formats . </li></ul>The large-scale mega trend Source: Online Education, Page 204
  13. 13. In distance education (Example from NKI Distance Education) The large-scale mega trend
  14. 14. In schools <ul><li>A large number of Scandinavian secondary schools are now using LMS systems </li></ul><ul><li>Even primary schools offer online services to many teachers, students, and parents. </li></ul>The large-scale mega trend
  15. 15. About nightmares <ul><li>Online education offers students excellent opportunities for individual communication with tutors. </li></ul><ul><li>They can be contacted via e-mail 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. </li></ul><ul><li>Few learning environments provide such opportunities for individual access to teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the students’ dream, but it could soon become a nightmare for the tutors. </li></ul>The large-scale mega trend
  16. 16. The online teacher’s workload The large-scale mega trend How can we handle this in large-scale online education?
  17. 17. The systems integration trend The systems integration trend
  18. 18. About student management systems <ul><li>… the Student Management System is the central, most important system for large-scale online education.… Hence, all other systems that offer online education services should rely on the SMS system as the master system with which they exchange data. </li></ul>The systems integration trend Source: Online Education, Page 30
  19. 19. About collisions <ul><li>… the universities will need seamless and powerful integration of their online learning environments and their student management systems. [We] will see two worlds collide in this process: The world of the teaching staff and the world of the university administrations. </li></ul>The systems integration trend Source: Online Education, Page 226
  20. 20. The troll with three heads: Learning, Management and System The systems integration trend
  21. 21. About constraints <ul><li>… it is important to understand that LMS systems may be built on very different pedagogical methods and theories and that these underlying constraints may influence and limit the systems pedagogical use. </li></ul>The systems integration trend Source: Online Education, Page 32
  22. 22. About straitjackets <ul><li>“ Straitjackets!” a friend of mine hissed with malice in his voice, when I discussed [LMS systems] with him the other day. </li></ul>The systems integration trend Source: Online Education, Page 207
  23. 23. The market trend <ul><li>Increased competition will require cost-effectiveness. </li></ul><ul><li>Broadband and multimedia provide wonderful opportunities, but student expectations and development costs will increase. </li></ul><ul><li>Large, international providers may dominate the market. </li></ul>The market trend
  24. 24. Cost-effectiveness <ul><li>Cost-effectiveness becomes more important as institutions become large-scale providers. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to develop sustainable online courses. </li></ul><ul><li>Development and operation costs of online courses are high. </li></ul><ul><li>Recent price rises have made the commercial LMSs a costly investment. Staff time for development and maintenance of self-developed systems proves to be a costly investment too. </li></ul>The market trend
  25. 25. About economic success <ul><li>The CISAER analysis revealed few, if any, examples of institutions with substantial income from student fees. </li></ul><ul><li>Likewise, there seem to be few institutions that can claim that provision of Web-based courses has been an economic success, if they disregard external research and development grants. </li></ul><ul><li>So, to obtain a sound economy for large-scale operation, some sort of industrialization of online education must be considered. </li></ul>The market trend Source: Online Education, Page 129
  26. 26. About sustainability <ul><li>Sustainable online education is characterized by its ability to persist when extraordinary internal or external funding stops. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, it seems to be a rare phenomenon. </li></ul><ul><li>In most cases online education is sustainable when it generates an economic surplus or reduces costs. </li></ul>The market trend
  27. 27. The mobile trend <ul><li>M-learning, the new ”buzz-word” </li></ul><ul><li>Improved mobile terminals (PDA, tablet PCs, advanced mobile phones) </li></ul><ul><li>Enormous resources are invested in broadband mobile telephone infrastructures (GPRS, 3G, MMS) </li></ul><ul><li>Private wireless networks are affordable and increasingly popular in offices and private homes. </li></ul><ul><li>Public wireless networks are available in an increasing number of airports, hotels, restaurants etc. </li></ul><ul><li>E-books could replace paper based text books </li></ul>The mobile trend
  28. 28. The broadband trend <ul><li>The web-edu project showed that there is an obvious request for more bandwidth and more multimedia abilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Several interviewees wanted to include video services such as streaming video, videoconferences, web-cameras, and moving pictures. </li></ul><ul><li>Audio services such as voice communication and audio files were also requested. </li></ul>The broadband and multimedia trend
  29. 29. About bandwidth <ul><li>The bandwidth has increased steadily and significantly ever since online education was introduced. </li></ul><ul><li>In Scandinavia, broadband is available to most people for a reasonable price. </li></ul><ul><li>This significant increase in bandwidth will continue in the foreseeable future and provide online education with richer media content. </li></ul>The broadband and multimedia trend
  30. 30. About speech synthesis <ul><li>The recent development in speech synthesis has made it so understandable and user-friendly that more learners may benefit from it. These include blind students, dyslectic students, and students who for example spend much time in a car. </li></ul><ul><li>It is conceivable that in the future it would be just as easy and inexpensive to “speech” a text as it is to print it. </li></ul>The broadband and multimedia trend Source: Online Education, Page 292
  31. 31. The globalization trend <ul><li>Worldwide there are more than 200,000 online courses we can study from home… </li></ul><ul><li>European harmonization of degrees, credits and grades makes it easier to enroll in transnational online courses </li></ul>The globalization trend
  32. 32. About export <ul><li>… in Australia, the official strategy is to develop education to become the second largest export industry. In the Nordic countries, however, the export of education does not seem to be an issue for public discussion. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In an action plan from the Commonwealth Government it is clearly stated that: “Education in Australia is a multi-billion dollar export industry of vital importance to our economy”. </li></ul></ul>The globalization trend Source: Online Education, Page 20
  33. 33. Thank you More information in my book: Online Education and Learning Management Systems: Global E-learning in a Scandinavian Perspective . The presentation is available via: