0215E: Quick Bit on Online Learning

Online learning is tricky, from a design perspective. Despite advances in web-conferencing technology and how connected we are though social media, it's not easy to translate the classroom experience online. Online learning involves the need for a lot of self-study and the design of a lot of self-study modules and the sort of learners who can dive into such learning approaches in an effective manner.

Online courses tend to involve regular lectures 1-2 times a week in the form of a video conference hosted on any number of platforms out there. Sometimes you can ask questions directly using your own video conferencing equipment. Other times you can only chat questions in a group chat or forum-style interface.

A lot of online schools try to balance things out with group work, to force you to act as a check and balance system for other students. It has its perks, although like real-life, it's not so effective when you have working age professionals in different countries with different work shifts. The challenge becomes finding common times to meet outside of your scheduled lecture time and all that fun stuff. Group work already sucks in real life and sucks even more in a virtual classroom environment.

It doesn't work for everyone. It isn't always effective whether because of curriculum design or a mismatch with the learning styles of the individual learner. There's no magic bullet for it just yet. But we keep trying.