E-learningSelf Awareness

Four lessons from online learning that should stick after the pandemic – Phys.org


Forget Password?
Learn more
share this!
May 2, 2022
by F. Haider Alvi, Deborah Hurst, Janice Thomas and Martha Cleveland-Innes,
One of the many changes COVID-19 brought those in education was an almost immediate switch to online learning.

Overnight, institutions scrambled to keep education moving, while bridging the physical distance between teacher and learner. Traditionally trained teachers made valiant efforts to adjust to digital by recording lessons, posting videos and creating breakout rooms, using whatever technology they had available.
These efforts resulted in digitally mediated physical classrooms using the internet—not .
While these two options sound the same, they are not. Bridging through technology alone doesn’t address additional adjustments required to address learner needs. Posting materials online, recording lectures and discussions themselves don’t create a coached, collaborative and supported learning environment.
So what have we really learned about online education? And what do we do now?
Online learning isn’t new, and lessons can be drawn from existing research and experience. Athabasca University—where we are all professors—pioneered the world’s first online MBA, M.Nursing and M.Ed progams over 28 years ago. And today, its one of Canada’s leading online universities.
The experience of online pioneers highlights four distinct aspects of that should stick post-pandemic: learning to learn online, designing online teaching with purpose, blending space and time online and continued disruption with AI.
1. Learning to learn online
The pandemic highlighted that one-size-fits-all educational approaches fail to address needs. Younger learners may seek physical spaces to promote socialization, with supervision and teacher-led content delivery. Others, like Athabasca’s mostly adult learners, value the convenience of connecting with classmates and instructors online during times of their choosing.
Common inequities like to the internet, lack of financial resources and needed digital competence plague online learning. However, online education offers access for students facing geospacial barriers to traditional classrooms, and further issues of inequality are addressed via multi-modal distance education, financial support structures and orientation to learning to learn online.
Emergency online education used blunt-edged instruments, ignoring student and program differences. The pandemic response emphasized the importance of preparing all students to learn, whether online or in a physical classroom.
2. Designing online teaching with purpose
Quality teaching and learning design must incorporate active, engaging roles for individual students, whether designed for traditional or distance education.
Meaningful teaching varies by setting and requires different approaches. Online course and teaching design is learner rather than content centered, incorporating high engagement in collaborative learning groups that fosters active learning.
Producing effective materials requires an approach involving both instructors and skilled course developers and takes months rather than weeks. Course materials are painstakingly detailed, and include writing everything the instructor would expect to say in a physical classroom, clearly describing all course requirements and linking students to readings, video and online resources.
Because of the pandemic, instructors had to translate classroom delivery into technology-mediated delivery—it worked for some, but was not easily tailored to unique learning needs.
Technological tools, combined with independent and joint working opportunities, should be brought back to the physical or hybrid classroom in conjunction with online pedagogical approaches that increase active, collaborative learning and learner-generated choices.
3. Blending space and time online
Pandemic education popularized the vocabulary of “synchronous” and “asynchronous” learning. Synchronous replicated physical classrooms through , digitally mediated teaching, while asynchronous meant working independently, usually with materials designed for a physical classroom. Moving forward we need to think about how timing and presence impacts learning.
At Athabasca, students come together in time and space through blended, collaborative, synchronous and asynchronous online learning. Instructors coach students individually at a student led pace.
This is different from traditional undergraduate classrooms, where students absorb material on a fixed schedule. Our graduate programs use paced programming, requiring students to work independently while regularly coming together in active online discussion.
More flexible teaching allows students to receive instructor support when they need it. Building in synchronous, collaborative learning allows for reflection, rather than real time responses.
4. COVID-19 began the disruption, AI will continue it
The pandemic revealed how education approaches can change after instructors had to search for innovative ways to improve student learning outcomes outside the physical .
At Athabasca, a virtual co-operative program allowed us to introduce a co-op program in the middle of a pandemic.
Students accessed a simulated work experience in a paced structure, irrespective of location. They were able to practice working as a team, , conflict resolution, ethical reasoning and leadership while working on an assigned project. Students received immediate, detailed feedback from an AI coach, allowing for extensive experimentation and revision to master concepts honed in reflective discussion with the instructor.
Research suggests that adopting online and AI tools needs to be deliberate, coupled with supportive digital infrastructure and highly responsive student support. Planned carefully and taken together, these steps improve on traditional approaches by making education truly open, accessible and inclusive.
Now, the question for all educators should be: How do we capitalize on COVID-19 initiated change to build better systems for the future?

Provided by The Conversation

Provided by The Conversation
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation
Explore further
Feedback to editors
7 hours ago
Nov 18, 2022
Nov 18, 2022
Nov 18, 2022
Nov 17, 2022
7 minutes ago
20 minutes ago
23 minutes ago
28 minutes ago
42 minutes ago
1 hour ago
1 hour ago
1 hour ago
1 hour ago
1 hour ago
Mar 14, 2022
Mar 16, 2022
May 06, 2021
Jul 14, 2021
Jun 24, 2020
May 05, 2021
5 hours ago
5 hours ago
Nov 18, 2022
Nov 15, 2022
Oct 27, 2022
Oct 19, 2022
Use this form if you have come across a typo, inaccuracy or would like to send an edit request for the content on this page. For general inquiries, please use our contact form. For general feedback, use the public comments section below (please adhere to guidelines).
Please select the most appropriate category to facilitate processing of your request
Thank you for taking time to provide your feedback to the editors.
Your feedback is important to us. However, we do not guarantee individual replies due to the high volume of messages.
Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. Neither your address nor the recipient’s address will be used for any other purpose. The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by Phys.org in any form.

Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and we’ll never share your details to third parties.
More information Privacy policy
Medical research advances and health news
The latest engineering, electronics and technology advances
The most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web
This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, collect data for ads personalisation and provide content from third parties. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.



Related posts
E-learningSelf Awareness

California revises new math framework to keep backlash at bay - EdSource

Do you count on EdSource’s education coverage? If so, please make your donation today to keep us…
Read more
E-learningSelf Awareness

MIT coding course at D.C. jail teaches tech skills to the incarcerated - The Washington Post

Sign inThe last time Rochell Crowder held an office job, he said, it was 1983 and computers were not…
Read more
E-learningSelf Awareness

How to use Notion for project management - TechRepublic

How to use Notion for project managementYour email has been sent Jack Wallen shows you how…
Read more

Sign up for The Pro People Community's Daily Digest and get the best of Industry updates, tailored for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *