Comparison of Online Learning Experiences

With the growing number of online learning options available to many of us, I decided to start developing a table/chart that compares some of the options: MOOCs, MAOCs, open courses, traditional online courses, self-paced online courses, webinars, online conferences, online communities of practice, etc.  In terms of features, I started with a variety of things like size, duration, level of learner autonomy, and the like. What I have so far is an early and rough draft, meant to elicit contributions from other as much as anything else.  I wanted to get something started and then invite others to join in the project.  As you have time and interest, I welcome your feedback and participation.  I put it together as a Google Doc that you can edit it, or you can just use the comment tool in Google Docs.

The Draft – Comparison of Online Leaning Environments & Experiences

  • What can we add (features or learning options)?
  • Should we change some things to make it more accurate?
  • Are there other helpful ways to represent part or all of this visually?

I welcome any and all contributions in the document itself or as a comment on this post.

2 Replies to “Comparison of Online Learning Experiences”

  1. @ioedu

    Not all online education programs are the same. Currently, most conversations on the topic on online education are oversimplified. Complexities must be addressed on this topic for a true critical assessment of online education to actually happen. The first significant distinction that must be considered for the conversation about online learning to be valid is that between synchronous and asynchronous instruction. In synchronous or live online instruction, students and teachers log on together in the virtual classroom. This is pure — unfiltered by reflection — interaction and in this live setting the social element of learning is not compromised.? The exceptional moment occurs in meaningful inspiration and encouragement in the timber and inflection of a voice, in the subtleties of harmony of thought process in synchronous time and the authentic epiphany. The teacher cannot be factored out of the equation of learning. Teaching in the moment is quite different from the packaged/canned asynchronous learning environment — particularly in terms of critical discourse. Canned/pre-packaged curriculum asynchronous online education does not embrace reflection in the way that Web 2.0 tools – like collaborative sites such as discussion boards and online presentation tools – do and curation sites — like Pinterest — do. Synchronous fosters expression and non- pre-packaged asynchronous encourages reflection – both elements of the learning process are necessary ones. . Oversimplification of the definition of online learning is not helpful to anyone and it seems that online learning has a negative connotation that it does not deserve.

    • Bernard Bull Post author

      Thanks for the comment. As you see in the spreadsheet, there is a column for synchronous and asynchronous, the instructor role, the learner role, etc. Your note about web 2.0 tools is a great potential addition. Perhaps we can add it as a column related to online spaces (localized versus dispersed across various online spaces). I’ll go ahead and add that column.

      As you noted, there is always a risk of oversimplifying. I consider these sorts of learning objectives to often be little more than good starting points for people who are thinking and talking about the subject. That is where the “further resources” column plays an important role.

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