This depends. What is face-to-face learning in higher education today? Many classrooms are large, auditorium size, with upwards of 350 students. The professor does not have the time to interact with each student, and teacher’s aids are employed to meet this need. The availability of TAs does not always match the availability of the student. Some classes may benefit more from face-to-face tutoring, such in the sciences and math. However, solutions manuals have been an easy replacement for getting help with problems. Khan Academy has proven that tutoring is efficient in an online setting.
Adult learners have more anxiety in a face-to-face communication than distance learning. They are nervous about receiving too much criticism from peers as well as the teacher. Fear of embarrassment, not fear of competition. (Alexe, M. & Almasan, B., 2009)This is not a new concern, in 1976 it was found that a small percentage of students participate in class, no matter what size the class. Teachers attributed this to either"students appearing unintelligent in the eyes of other students" or "the possibility that student comments might negatively affect their grades." ( Karp, D., Yoels, W., 1976)
Positive: virtual communications give students an opportunity to communicate with their teachers as needed, post on message boards, engage in instant message conversations, where anxiety is reduced. Virtual classrooms often give students time to find the correct answers and not be under pressure to perform under the scrutiny of other students. (Alex, M. & Almasan, B., 2009)
Positive: virtual communications give students an opportunity to communicate with their teachers as needed, post on message boards, engage in instant message conversations, where anxiety is reduced. The constructivist theory embraces learning that is contextual, active, and social. (Brown, M. 2005) Adult students learn through actively being involved in discussion, analysis, criticism and high level of communication where ideas become an exchange of information. In true classical education, a student matures to become
Who knows best what they need to learn? The student or the teacher?A teacher can supply sources for learning, but the student may have accumulated knowledge and experience that duplicates material. This is more true in higher education and professional training. Constructivism supports this contention, that adult learners have an idea of what they need to learn and what they have already accumulated in their work and studies. The student may not always know what he/she needs, and for that reason a good teacher or mentor can and should be pointing the way. There needs to be success for the student to be able to use this education to provide for the needs of living. Learners need to be active in the process of learning, and not recipients of knowledge. (Brown, M. 2005)
A teacher can supply sources for learning, but the student may have accumulated knowledge and experience that duplicates material. This is more true in higher education and professional training. How does a teacher convey what a student needs to learn? This information is disclosed in assigned readings in conventional textbooks, lecture notes and a teacher made syllabus. All of this can be delivered either online or in person. Traditional classrooms do not have an edge on this delivery.
In a classroom setting, that has a start date and an end date, the student must progress at the rate that is set. Some professional and adult learners have knowledge that would allow them to progress at a faster pace. One college, Western Governor’s College, has students pay by the semester, allowing students to progress through courses as quickly as they are able to complete the tasks. This would not be possible in a classroom setting.
Students must make decisions as customers, choosing schools not only for the academics, but for location, atmosphere, and cost. Potential students tour campuses and compare, they shop as a consumer shops. They pay as a consumer pays. The teachers get paid. Web sites evaluate teachers, where students, as consumers can choose a class based on the rating of the professors. Students can drop classes. Colleges compete for students, as companies compete for customers. Another choice, students make: majors. The teachers get paid, because the students pay
Ref: The Project on Student Debt. Students are consumers because they buy their education and choose their source of education. Schools recruit students.
There is never only one way to teach or one way to learn. Methods are always changing as innovation continues to drive the learning experience. Technology changes the way we read a book, from hardbound to e-books. The library is quickly being replaced with the internet and retrieval of documents has become faster and easier than it was 20 years ago. More potential students are being reached, where they may not have been able to attend college due to time restrictions with jobs or location restrictions.
A Rebuttal toMisconceptions In defense of online learning for an adultcommunity
Is Online Learning Inferior to face-to-face Learning for Adults?
Drawbacks of the Traditional ClassroomLarge class sizes: students have little chance toengage in face-to-face dialogue with theprofessor.Teacher’s Aids are not available at times needed.Adult anxiety about peer/teacher criticism .(Alexe, M. &Almasan, B., 2009)Only a small percentage of students participate,no matter what the size of class ( Karp, D., Yoels,W., 1976)
Advantages of Virtual ClassroomLess Anxiety: “Students have time to find thecorrect answers and not be under pressure toperform under the scrutiny of other students.”(Alex, M. &Almasan, B., 2009)The competency and flexibility model fits theneeds of adult learning.
Virtual CommunicationsSupports the constructivist theory of teacher as“expert and mentor” instead of” master andcommander” (Brown, M., 2005)Available via synchronous and asynchronousdevices Pre-recorded video Skype Email Message boards Instant message
Does the Adult Learner Know What he/she Needs? Adult students bring a history of experience and knowledge to the classroom, from which they construct learning – supporting the Constructivism Learning Theory. (Koohang, 2005) Access to the internet has opened up resources to students that were not there 20 years ago. They can immediately “find” information. “Net Gen Students are experiential, tending toward learning by doing rather than by listening.” (Brown, M., 2005)
Timeframes to Complete CollegeTraditional colleges have semesters wherestudents conform to the beginning and enddates.Online Colleges have variable start dates andend dates.Western Governors Online University’scompetency-based academic approach utilizesconstructivism learning theory.
Are Students Customers Today?Students incur a large debt to go to college. “TheProject on Student Debt used federal data andprojections to estimate the average amount of debt atgraduation, about $25,250.” (Nelson, L., 2012)The current balance of federal student loansnationwide is $902 billion, with an additional $140billion or so in private student loans. (Martin, A.,2012)
Consumer:Definition:An individual who buys products or services forpersonal use and not for manufacture or resale.
Student Debt Attests ThatStudents are Consumers
Only One Way to Learn/Teach?Innovation necessarily dictates change.There is always change – from apprenticeshipsto large institutional colleges.Educating is becoming more inclusive.
ReferencesAlexe, M., &Almasan, B. (2009). Some Psychological Aspects of Adults ELearning Process. Proceedings of The 5th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software Education,Bucharest, April 09-10. Retrieved from: http://adlunap.ro/else2009/journal/papers/2009/1111.1.Alexe_Almasan.pdfBrown, M. (2005) Learning Spaces. In Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L. (Eds.). Educating the Net Generation, (pp. 12.1- 12.22). Educase. Retrieved from:http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101l.pdfKarp, D. A. &Yoels, W. C. (1976) The college classroom: Some observations on the meanings of student participation. Sociology & Social Research, Vol 60(4),421-439. Retrieved from:http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1977-30474-001Kolowich, S. (2012) Paying for Performance. Inside Higher ED. Retrieved from: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/06/mcgraw-hill-wgu-announce-deal-would-shift-accountability-content-providerKoohang, A., Riley, L.& Smith, T. (2009) E-Learning and Constructivism: From Theory to Application. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects (5). Retrieved fromhttp://www.learningdomain.com/MEdHOME/WEB-BASED/Learning.Actiivty.pdfMartin, A. &Lehren, A. (2012). A Generation Hobbled by Soaring Cost of College. The New York Times. Retrieved from: Brown, M. (2005) Learning Spaces. In Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L.(Eds.). Educating the Net Generation, (pp. 12.1- 12.22). Educase. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101l.pdfNelson, L. (2012) What We Don’t Know About Debt, Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/18/what-we-dont-know-about-college-student-debtStudent Debt and The Class of 2010 ( 2011). The Project on Student Debt. An Initiative for the Institute for College Access & Success. Retrieved from:http://projectonstudentdebt.org/files/pub/classof2010.pdfWestern Governors University: How We’re Different. Retrieved from: http://www.wgu.edu/about_WGU/WGU_differentSchool roomImage: Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from:http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Manzanar_Relocation_Center,_Manzanar,_California._In_one_of_the_school_rooms_at_the_Manzanar_Center_._._._-_NARA_-_536716.tif&page=1