MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) have been revolutionary for education. They are free online courses that do not have entry requirements and are accessible to everyone.
Why are MOOC’s attracting more students?
How effective is online learning?
Online learning places the student at the forefront of their education. They become their own teacher and are accountable for their own learning which not only forces them to develop better time management skills but makes them more independent. Instead of having to show up in a classroom, they are responsible for completing assignments and reading through material which unknowingly helps them become more self-disciplined. It also makes it easier for them to pick up new skills and retain information which are fundamental skills that are required to thrive in the workplace.
How is it helping learning become more social?
Whilst traditional learning offers students a classroom full of peers, online learning is often presented as an isolated experience. However, with the rise of online courses, there are now entire communities built online allowing students to interact with and support one another.
Having a place in an online community can be more beneficial than being a part of a classroom because it allows students to ask questions that they may not necessarily ask in a traditional setting. It is easy to feel intimidated by the large number of people in a seminar, which can lead to people not asking questions or bringing up certain issues. However, online learning provides these students with a platform to open up a discussion. It also means that they can participate in lengthy conversations about topics that they not have been able to pursue in an allotted 2-hour seminar. It also allows all students to have a voice and share their ideas which can sometimes be challenging in a classroom setting when there are several opinions and it can take time to gather one’s thoughts.
Another benefit is that it makes it easier to ask lecturers questions without having to wait for their office hours. Online learning makes teachers more accessible, and conversing through online chats or emails can sometimes be easier than the pressure of a physical one-on-one conversation.
An online community also allows students to share notes with one another and facilitate learning by participating in forums and answering questions. It causes students to seek out interaction instead of it being forced within a seminar setting and teaches them to take charge, which not only builds character but provides them with fundamental skills that will later benefit them in the workplace.
Whilst online learning may have previously signified isolation and sitting behind a computer screen all day, it has evolved into an interactive method of learning and has proven to be effective.