What is online learning and how is it different from other types of learning?

This may seem like a silly question, most of us know that having a course online means more people are able to access your course at any time and in any place (as long as they have Internet access).  We’re talking 24 hours a day anywhere in the world.


There are great benefits to have a course or training online and there is more to it than posting a series of videos on your website and directing your traffic there.


A beautiful thing about online learning is that it encourages interaction from all the different people taking the course. Putting your course online means that you can facilitate discussions about topics. When people ask questions and share their knowledge by answering other people’s questions and supporting others, they gain a much deeper level of learning. It’s not just watching and doing, it’s a much fuller participation.


Discussions are a very simple way of engaging people. You can easily encourage participation by asking open ended questions stemming from your learning materials. This is also easy to set up but you may need to learn a few facilitation skills (remember negative answers might just be a frustrated learner).


There is an emerging trend for gamifying online learning. This can work with player interactions, making achievable aims and basically having fun. Check out Jane McGonigal on TED.


Being online allows you to use a lot of resources, the most common software are those that amalgamate slide shows, quizzes and other support systems (images, maps etc) into one easy to use course. These are often used for organisational and in-house training.


It is important you ask yourself what you want to achieve through your course and to encourage participant interactions.


*check out the original article by Rebecca OGM on  elearnhub.org  


Flipped Out Over Sophia

Sophia Website Welcome Page – on the day that I took the photo.

I have just signed up for Sophia and so far it’s pretty cool. What is Sophia? It’s a social learning network described as “a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube focused solely on education”.


What happens on Sophia?

You create a profile, make friends, join groups and follow subjects. There is a points system for watching and participating in activities, including great class management points for ‘good behaviour’, it’s not called that but the idea is to encourage people to act responsibly on the site. There are lists of tutorials and you can make a ‘playlist’ from them.


You can watch a tutorial and give it a rank then work your way up to the next tutorial. You can also upload tutorials – big bonus, we can all SHARE.


Tutorials are media heavy: text, graphics, music, videos, slideshows … The idea is that people both learn and teach in different ways so the more tutorials the more ways there are for people to connect with a learning style that matches them best.


Sophia has taken off in a big way and rightly so, it looks like loads of fun & there is a lot of potential for use in wider educational settings. There are privacy settings so you can share with an invite only group of people. Class projects could pick out different things in tutorials or create their own tutorial for a much deeper learning experience, or you can simply share a tutorial with your online or physical students.


I hope they look at breaking down the subject divisions and adding more of a tag system as not all learning takes place within a subject header.


To top off this great site they emphasis  Creative Commons on their licensing agreement.

They want people to share and work together :).


Check it out here


Teamie: moving from an LMS to a social learning platform

I’m enjoying exploring the Teamie website (link below) and am looking at it not from a classroom perspective but from a more social learning perspective.

Teamie is a learning platform hosted on a cloud, big tick from me, and incorporates collaboration features through ‘walls’ similar to facebook where learners can work together.  Feedback on tests and projects can be visible to everyone and it is easy for everyone: educators, families, learners to see what’s going on.  It encourages people to communicate online and also a certain amount of transparency in the education process.

I assume that education facilities in different locations could use Teamie to connect and communicate by distance which is a great way to encourage diversity in collaboration and also mentoring.  This feature, as well as hosting classroom-style learning, could be useful in adult education/training where people often miss out on connecting with others outside of their immediate working situation.

There are more and more ‘LMS‘s’ out there and they all seem to be moving towards more of a social learning aspect.  I believe this is a massive step in the right direction.

I’m interested to see how people use it for their own learning experiences, especially when it comes to ‘inquiry’ learning.  What’s the best way to use a platform to encourage healthy use of some of the amazing resources on the Internet for student led learning?

Teamie: http://theteamie.com/

Check out their intro video ‘Teamie in Action’: