Aug 262011

Online Learning vs. Instructor Lead?


DanStop Following Follow Dan

Online learning vs. Instructor led? Is one totally better than the other? Why the increase in online over the past 5 years? And can an online solution emmulate an in classroom environment?

> Online learning: An interactive conversation within the Linkedin, ASTD National Group<

TimStop Following Follow Tim

Tim Harmon • Great questions Dan. When it comes to online versus instructor led, which one is better depends on the situation. We find that communicating fairly straightforward concepts can be done cost effectively through eLearning (assuming, of course, that the eLearning is well designed and engaging.) More complex concepts and, even application of simple concepts, are better handled in an instructor-led environment.

In the past five years the use of online learning has increased dramatically – especially as part of a blended solution that contains many modes. This has happened because the economic climate in the U.S. and abroad has really forced T&D to focus on efficiency while maintaining results.

I’m not sure that an online solution will be able to recreate a classroom environment anytime soon. Virtual reality and virtual classrooms go a bit in that direction, but in my humble opinion, I think they have a long way to go to replace the classroom. Frankly, I’m not sure that online solutions should try to emulate a classroom environment as we find the different modes serve different purposes and are best applied situationally.

Hope this helps!


Thomas S. McDonald • Thomas S. McDonald •

(1) This study shows that the individual learning outcomes are very similar between traditional one to many classroom instruction and traditional one to many elearning instruction:
Unfortunately, neither one-to-many instructional approach adds enough to individual learning outcomes and individual learning transfer – there is certainly room for improvement
Webbased, professional instructor/coach facilitated, blended, personalized learning, via personal learning environments, is the new approach that ensures bettered individual learning outcomes (these approaches are rich with research proven, individual learning and learning transfer methodologies)
(2) From a personal learning outcomes perspective, if the online solution is individually personalized and is professionally facilitated by a instructor/coach, over time, individual learning outcomes will be bettered and it will better classroom learning outcomes
Will the classroom be replaced? In the corporate world, with geographically dispersed employees and with tight budgets the answer is yes. Classroom instruction has been replaced with elearning, with parallel or bettered individual outcomes.

In public education, even with the growth of virtual schools, I doubt that the traditional classroom will be replaced.  Individual learning and learning transfer outcomes will be the  top priority. The one to many teaching approach will be  supplemented by personalized, professionally facilitated, eLearning.

Research has proven that personalized learning, with professional facilitation (blended learning) advances individual learning and learning transfer outcomes.

If we are serious about advancing individual learning and learning transfer outcomes we must follow the research proven methodologies for learning and learning transfer. Then, we must be open to change how we are delivering information; from a one to many approach to a one-to-one, blended approach.
It’s now all about individual outcomes consistent with organizational objectives.

The conversation then centers around this question: Who provides the best solution for this to happen?

Personalized eLearning, with professional facilitation (a blended approach) is a strong element within the current learning, learning transfer and learning delivery paridigm shift we are experiencing.


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