A new shift in education – online learning

Online education has become extremely popular in the world over the last decade. A great variety of online programmes are offered not only by virtual educational platforms but also by most highly recognized universities and colleges in the world. Different scholars are researching  the issue of online learning and have arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of online learning as well as its impact on education generally.

The report about online learning that I have read is called “ Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States” (Allen & Seaman,2013). This report presents the findings of the ten-year study of the state of online learning in the sphere of higher education in the USA. The aim of the study was to answer general questions about the nature and extent of online education. Based on the responses of more than 2800 colleges and universities, the study addressed the issue of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), strategic nature of online education for the universities, number of online students, changes that happen to the faculty members, comparison of online and face-to-face education outcomes, barriers to establishing online education widely.

The major findings of the report state that MOOCs is becoming more popular and this popularity will continue to grow in future as the number of students enrolling in online courses  increases. This tendency has made the top world university consider establishing online education strategic to them, thus “69.1% of higher education institutions consider that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy” (Allen & Seaman, 2013, p.4).

At the same time the report announces certain barriers to widespread adoption of online learning. The main concerns are the quality of online education, additional time and effort that the faculty members have to spend, high rates of drop-outs from the courses and potential lack of acceptance of online education by potential employers (Allen & Seaman, 2013).

The first report also touched upon an issue of the changing nature of teaching and how those changes influenced the faculty members. Teachers involved in providing online courses had to adapt their methodology and teaching practices to the new reality. A paper “From face-to-face teaching to online teaching: pedagogical transition” (Redmond, 2011) presents a case study and describes how the pedagogical practice as well as perceptions and perspectives on online education of two teachers have changed over a period of time.

Transition from face-to-face instruction to online one has been met with a high degree of resistance by the faculty members. Their initial perception of the online education was very skeptical one. Apart from that, they were struggling with instructor’s changing role and integration of ICT into teaching. Redefining of a professional identity took much time.

However, eventually they found new pedagogical approaches suitable for online environment, changed ways of interacting with students and learnt how to integrate ICT into their practice (Redmond, 2011).

The conclusion of the paper states that the teachers saw benefits of the online programmes and had accepted the effectiveness of online teaching and learning (Redmond, 2011).

Having read several articles and reports on online education, I came to the conclusion that advantages of online education outnumber the disadvantages. Among the positive aspects of online education I personally underline an opportunity to complete the course in any location at any time, reduction of travel time and cost on accommodation, transportation, etc, an opportunity to have  your own pace of learning and access to most recognized world universities. I consider that online education will only increase in popularity and will become a crucial part of educational system generally.

Reference list

Allen,E. & Seaman, J (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Retrieved from http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/survey_report/changing-course-ten-years-tracking-online-education-united-states/

Redmond, P. (2011). From face-to-face teaching to online teaching: pedagogical transition. In G.Williams, P.Stathon, N.Brown & B.Cleland (Eds), Changing Demands, Changing Directions. Proceedings ascilite Hobart 2011. Pp.1050-1060 Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/hobart11/downloads/papers/Redmond-full.pdf

Picture is taken from http://marmarissurkoop.com/category/online-education/

Online education

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11 thoughts on “A new shift in education – online learning

    1. Yes, I agree with you. This is considered to be one of the disadvantage of online courses that it has high rate of drop-outs. However, this is still a good opportunity for working people to study and to work at the same time.

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    2. Dear Eraly

      I had similar thoughts while reading Miramgul’s article. Although your point is true to some extent, the trend shows that working people attend additional courses as a result of the necessity to higher up their professional knowledge in their jobs. I also have doubt that this is online learning that adds intensification to learners. If they had to study face-to-face, what level of intensification we could talk about then?

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      1. Dear Laura,

        I also agree that sometimes online education is the only opportunity for people to increase their knowledge or professional level. So, if people are really willing to develop professionally, they have to find time for that.

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  1. Hello Meiramgul,
    First of all I like your eye catching heading of your post.
    The benefits of online learning is outstanding nowadays and it truly gives equal opportunities to study. Online learning is a good approach in inclusive education too. Another thought that came to my mind after you post is will online (virtual) teaching and learning replace the teacing in reality someday?

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    1. Thank you for your comment.
      I am not sure that online education will change face-to-face one because personal communication is still an important part of any education. Secondly, personally, I believe that face-to-face education gives more quality than virtual one.
      However, I consider that expansion of online education will only grow in future

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Miramgul,
    thank you for this post. You have found good resources that are worth reading. Firstly, because of an issue of Massive Open Online Courses with the huge number of participants. Secondly, the professional identity of teachers and its role for success or failure of online learning.
    I do agree that generally online education is an excellent opportnutity for providing a better education in terms of its equity and equality. However, there is a call for employers who usually prefer traditional diploma rather than blended courses to change their attitudes and recognize the high potential of new trend in education.

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  3. Dear Miramgul,

    I agree with you and the authors you cite in your post, that online learning is occupying more and more areas in our life. Still, to my mind, there should be worked out specific requirements or criteria for online education to be qualified as highly professional. Thus, employers will consider online diploma or certificate reliable. What do you think?

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    1. I completely agree with you on the criteria of quality that online courses should have. If online education quality were proven fact according to certain criteria, future employers would not be afraid of hiring people with diplomas of online university or course.
      Meanwhile, there are great number of courses the quality of which leaves much to be desired.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Miramgul! This is a thorough summary of two texts that clearly focus on changing trends in online learning. You do a great job introducing each text and giving a clear introduction/conclusion to your post.

    I recommend connecting your short paragraphs (starting with Transition/However/The conclusion) into one paragraph so your ideas flow together more smoothly. Finally, you have a few grammatical mistakes 1) with article ( I came to the conclusion that ___ advantages of online education outnumber the disadvantages.) and 2) with S-V agreement (MOOCs is becoming more).

    4.5/5

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