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Myths, Truths and Futures of online learning


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Presentation for Computer and Information Processing Society of Alberta

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Myths, Truths and Futures of online learning

  1. 1. Myths, Truths and Futures of Online Learning Terry Anderson, PhD Centre for Distance Education Athabasca University Oct 4, 2012 Edmonton
  2. 2. Why Online Learning?• Anywhere/anytime• Just in time• Any medium• Green effects• Cost savings? – Travel and opportunity costs – Facility savings – Re-use, sharing (OERs) – Lower production costs • User generated content • Knowledge management • Persistence
  3. 3. Examples
  4. 4. Myths• Online, e-learning (or other forms of distance education) doesn’t work. – 30 years of research revealing no significant difference (see – “The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction” Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. US Government 2009
  5. 5. Myth: Online Learning is All the Same
  6. 6. Myth: Online learning is Harder (or easier)• There are very hard and very easy courses in both mediated and classroom based• Many students find different type of learning activities harder and easier• No two students learn in the exact same ways or speeds
  7. 7. Myth: Development Costs for online are VERY High• Tremendous number of Open Educational Resources available• Production costs and values plummeting• Distribution costs approaching zero
  8. 8. The Cost of ContentTom Corddry, who headed up its multimedia publishing unit, said, “The editors overestimatedthe way students would say, ‘This has been carefully edited! And is very authoritative! RANDALLSTROSS, 2009”
  9. 9. Myth: Online Learning is More expensive for the Deliverer• Major reductions in capital costs• Allows competitors to enter field quickly• Many canned products and outsourcing options• Like other businesses, economy of scale is very important
  10. 10. Myth: Online learning is more expensive for the Student• Sometimes used to cross subsidize classroom delivery• Some models surcharge, rather than refund the student for travel, time and opportunity costs.
  11. 11. Myth: Economy of Scale favours E-Learning• Economy of scale confronts all forms of teaching/learning• Different models of e-learning have different scalability
  12. 12. Truth: Online Education is a Disruptive TechnologyClayton Christensen
  13. 13. User generated Content• Wikipedia• Facebook• Linked In• Shashdot - News for nerds, stuff that matters•
  14. 14. Truth: Some Students don’t like Online learning• s Kathleen Ross, MDE 2012, Professional Accounts preferences Rank order where 1= Favorite
  15. 15. Online Learning is Coming Here Tuesday May 08 31% of student take one or more online courses Sloan Consortium “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011“
  16. 16. The Interaction Equivalency Theorem by Anderson (2003)• Thesis 1. Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (learner–teacher; learner-learner; learner–content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the learning experience.• Thesis 2. High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience, although these experiences may not be as cost- or time effective as less interactive learning sequences. Distance Teaching & Learning Conference 2011, Madison, Wisconsin 18
  17. 17. Different Models (generations) of E-Learning pedagogy• Cognitive Behavioral – Training – Big Data• Constructivist – Small groups, collaborative Learning• Connectivist – Building Learning Networks of people plus resources – Creating and Curating – Constructed Network contexts • Athabasca landing
  18. 18. Future: Harnessing Social Networks for Learning"Companies are using social learning to drive innovation intheir learning organizations," he says. "By allowing users toactively interact and share knowledge, organizations areboth empowering users to teach one another and areactively encouraging conversations that organically fostercreativity and problem-solving."The Bersin study also finds that employee development in2011 averaged 15.3 hours, up from 12.8 hours in 2010,with much of the focus outside of "formal" learningevents. The Corporate Learning Factbook 2012: Benchmarks, Trends and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market,
  19. 19. Knowledge workers learn three to four times morefrom experience than interaction withbosses,coaches and mentors. And they learn abouttwice asmuch from those conversations comparedto structured courses and programs.The shorthand label for this viewpoint is 70:20:10— 70 percent experiential, 20 percent coachingand10 percent formal. I
  20. 20. How do we document, archive and re- use that informal interaction??
  21. 21. Athabasca Landinghttps://Landing.
  22. 22. Based on ElggA LAMP Open Source Platform
  23. 23. What is the Landing?• A toolset for sharing – Groups, blogs, wikis, bookmarks, files, photos, videos, podcasts, events, etc• A toolset for communication – Microblogs, messaging, commenting, group forums• A social network – Connecting, following
  24. 24. What is the Landing?• A Walled Garden with windows – Discretionary access control• A user-owned space – Everyone equal (including students)• An AU social space – no ads, no links to vendors, secure, private
  25. 25. Pedagogical Rationale • Supports Beyond the course interaction and integration • Persistence • Student ownership and control • Cooperative and collaborative opportunities • Guests and alumni • Connectivist pedagogies
  26. 26. Administrative and Communication Rationale• Challenges of the Distributed Workplace• Persistence• User control• Archiving• Custom applications• Sharing within and beyond Centre/Faculty
  27. 27. Filling gaps the Landing way
  28. 28. • “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken in its flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyages of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea we are now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures” William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218– 224
  29. 29. Your comments and questions most welcomed! Terry Anderson Blog: