Online learning isn't all it's cracked up to be

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by tadj, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. tadj

    tadj Active Member

  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Blah! Blah! Another person who fails to realize that online education is the fastest-growing component of high education and that it is here to stay.
  3. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    The author didn't say that it is going to go away. She points out that there is "certainly a place for online learning, and it can be very helpful for some students." She advocates for a balanced approach, which strikes me as sensible. Do you want to see a day when on-campus learning experiences aren't available to students? It's a very different experience from online learning. I can attest to that. It's ludicrous to think that it's the same exact same educational experience.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  4. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Who said it was the same? The MD and the Ph.D. both earn the title of "Dr." but different degrees with different purposes. Online serves its purpose and face to face does the same. They both have flaws... end of story!

    Ps. No need to use a redundant adjective to get your point across. The words "same" and "exact" have the same meaning.
  5. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    We're in agreement here. There are pros and cons associated with each learning method. The larger point had to do with the promotion of a rosy view of technological advances in education.

    Ps. The redundancy was unintended. There is a time limit for correcting posts on the board.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Meanwhile, I'll cite the actual research on comparative effectiveness. But that's me.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  7. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    The article is nothing more than passe rhetoric and blanketly applied statements. "Humans need in-person social interaction". Yeah, but as an older adult with a career and a lot of obligations, what I don't need is to worry about and waste my time with all of the silliness that goes on with the young people on a typical college campus, a scene I no longer identify with and don't feel any sense of belonging to.

    If I were in need of any more degrees, I would only be needing the education and the pieces of paper, nothing else. I have made, lost, and gained all the friendships I need, and though we are all a work in progress until we die, the progress I need is much different from what an 18-24 year old campus student with far fewer life experiences needs. I am decades past those stepping stones, and this is why people like me choose online learning, that and because we can self-motivate and don't need constant face-to-face interaction. We've been there, done that. It's also no coincidence that an older demographic dominates this space, something the writer does not appear to be aware of.
  8. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    I wonder whether any of the cited research (the author's links, or the one that Steve cited) looks at the effectiveness of traditional and online learning in terms of concrete gains in student learning. Some experts in the field of higher education believe that much of what passes for "established teaching quality" is problematic, because it doesn't get to the root of true student learning experiences. For example, you might want to read this article;

    Sample: "Students go to college to get an education, of course. But what should be the measure of whether they receive one? Colleges’ response is to count classes. At nearly all of the colleges and universities in the US, a bachelor’s degree is granted to students who have completed 120 credit hours of coursework, distributed as prescribed by the institution. Of course, there is some quality control: they need to pass the classes, on average receiving a grade of C or better: this adds up to their transcript. But that still provides little information on the question of what students actually learn in their classes, how well they learn it, how long they remember it, or what they can do with it: all those things that in normal usage we would include under the heading of education.

    Most colleges and universities pay no systematic attention to what students learn or how they learn it. If the teacher fails to meet her classes or fails to assign letter grades, attention will be paid: steps will be taken to bring the system back to equilibrium. But if the students forget everything they “learned” within a month of the final exam, nobody at the institution will even be aware of the fact, much less do anything about it.

    The instruction myth leads to and reinforces what I call the myth of quality. We often hear that the US has the best universities in the world. But that claim is based entirely on the research accomplishments of the great institutions. When we look at undergraduate education, we see a very different picture. Accepting the instruction myth, institutions proceed on the idea that if the classes are full and students are completing them, all is well and the job is getting done. This is not true..."
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I train a lot of trainers. I had one who was absolutely against online learning, but he couldn't articulate why. He just KNEW it was inferior. He said it was essential to look his students in the eye to be sure they understood. (Ignoring, of course, that you can do that online, and that other more effective means of measuring learning were at our disposal.) He was sure and didn't want to hear it.

    I think what is important is what the learning objectives are and how they're being reached. Using Bloom's Taxonomy categories, I think we can agree that both the Cognitive and Affective domains are relatively accessible online. The third, Psychomotor, is harder, especially the farther up you go. (If your learning objective is to remove an appendix from a cadaver, it's harder to do online.) But the highest levels of the Cognitive and Affective domains can be achieved readily in an online environment, especially if you include the possibility of synchronous learning (either from the instructor or between peers in learning groups).

    Most things learned in most college programs at most degree levels can be accomplished online. They can also fail miserably in the classroom. Anyone who's had a horrible class from a bad instructor can attest to that.
    tadj likes this.
  10. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    My College Football and basketball are here to stay, and who will pay for the stadium, athletic programs, and coaches? Pro Football recruitment events etc.
    Of course, B&M is here to stay ;-).
    I think that B&M schools with degrees for young high school graduates are here to stay, also there are many degree programs on all the levels that require lab work on a continues basis.
    So There will be a nice balance between the 100 online, partially online sandwich programs, and 100% on campus.
    tadj likes this.
  11. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    You see so many articles on this subject written by people who have no real experience with it and people who have done very little or poor research. But the ignorance is something I'm slowly coming to just accept because I realize I can't win. It's insurmountable.

    I was on YouTube recently and watched a video of Reddit posts with people talking about their experiences with online programs. The comment section of the video is just filled with misinformed nonsense. I figured by now with practically every school having an online program, millions and millions of students having gone through them, all of these years having passed, and the ease with which information can be searched for today, most of the misconceptions I read would've been a thing of the past, but no. Someone comes in to give them facts, they get attacked by a mob of idiots shouting them down with misinformation.

    If it's online it's bad. If it's for-profit it's automatically bad. DeVry and University of Phoenix are the devil and all online programs are like them, and all online programs are for-profit. No company will hire someone with an online degree. Better go to a top 10 school or you're destined for a life of poverty.

    I saw one moron tell a guy who had trouble finding a job for just one month that his WGU degree was no good and he better run to a top 10 school and get another degree or he'll never land another job. Someone tried to explain to him all the flaws in his thinking, but he was belligerent and refused to at least consider another perspective. Scarier is the fact that this type of advice is being given to people every day and that there are people actually taking heed to it.

    Even with all of this technology and information readily accessible at our fingertips, people appear to be getting dumber and more impossible to reason with. It's either agree with me or to hell with you, I won't read any of the facts you linked to, and you're blocked. There is very little real learning or discussion taking place in many of these higher learning comment sections anymore, that's where we are now. I've never seen things more aggressive in this area than they are today. What makes me the angriest is seeing professional sites post misinformation about these things for public consumption and that's becoming more and more common for me as I read articles randomly across the internet.
  12. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Max, whining: :emoji_angry:

    Me, reading Max's whine: :emoji_grin:

    Me, after getting through Max's whine: :emoji_zzz::emoji_zzz::emoji_zzz:

    But seriously, Max has written the best whine I've read all year. But the year is only four days old. :D
  13. tadj

    tadj Active Member


    It's hard to blame the average person when you can find plenty of major university faculty members expressing the same disdain for online education. I've seen it way too many times. Of course, you would hope that this is going to decrease over time with generational shifts. That said, I try to listen to the other side. I can appreciate their spirited defense of in-person learning experiences. It's just unfortunate that some of the spokesmen for this approach will often ignore the best research on online education. It would be nice if they managed to concede a few things from time to time.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020

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