Friday, April 9, 2010

Online Learning: A New Trend in Education?

Technology is everywhere these days. I remember when I attended a two-day seminar-workshop last 2008 where the participants were asked to think of as many e-prefixed words as they can. The purpose of the activity was for the participants to realize how tremendous are the applications of technology that most of the words nowadays have e- prefixes attached into it. Just think of e-mails, e-portfolios, e-news, e-books, e-magazines and a whole lot of words in the list.I am not wondering anymore if majority or all of my students in the classroom have their own computer and internet connection at home.

There are many speculations that a time would come wherein teachers are not needed anymore. What people would need in order to learn is a personal computer and an internet connection to stay connected with other learners. I have nothing to be afraid of with this trend because I know that if this time would come, they would still need human beings to design learning materials and have them uploaded in different learning websites or even online teachers who could provide support to the students. Every teacher needs to become adoptive and open to these trends which would likely dominate the world of learning in the near future. There are already studies which have been conducted to study the effectiveness of online learning and most of them handed out positive results.

However, if I am asked on the feasibility of online learning in providing holistic development among the learners, I firmly believe that it's far behind compared to face-to-face instruction. We all know how limited the human dimension is in online learning that sometimes, it's absolutely nil. How can we teach values in the cyberspace considering that values is not merely taught by words but through actions? Could someone who is unseen teach people about integrity, enthusiasm, courage and all those virtues? Well, it depends to the level of social and emotional consciousness of the learner but taking into consideration the young kids who just started to go to school and the teenagers who seem to be very aggressive at their stage of development, how can we assure that proper guidance is given among them? Online learning could be possibly implemented in higher education but I don't believe it would have absolute impact in the basic education level.

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