In Spring 2020, teachers moved content designed for face-to-face (F2F) delivery online. Schools closed. So, teachers learned to use new tools. As a result, parents became learning guides. Students went to school in their bedrooms. Besides that, the move soured virtual learning for many parents and students. Teachers and publishers spent the summer prepping for virtual instruction. Publishers know posting F2F materials in the LMS does not make effective online learning. Teachers need time and skill to create strong online learning. Administrators spent the fall distinguishing remote and online learning. Publishers need to be on the lookout for chances to explain.
Online Learning is…
- Learning materials carefully planned to be most effective when implemented in an online setting
- Interactive with a focus on social presence
- A blend of synchronous and asynchronous tasks carefully planned based on the most effective method of execution
- Engaging through rich media and interactive learning objects
- Often project-based with opportunities for individual learning journeys where not all students follow the same prescribed path
- Focused on higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy by providing students opportunities for application of what they are learning through scenarios-based learning, case studies, etc.
- Highly responsive to provide detailed and useful feedback in a timely manner
When done well, online learning is powerful. Students learn what they need when they need the content. Teachers use data to instruct and intervene students. Instructors facilitate projects designed to work in the online setting. Teachers house a variety of rich media content on the LMS for students to use. Learning is customized to the students level and pace. Online learning is not the same as the remote learning which many students attend in the fall.
Remote Learning is…
- Learning materials intended for face-to-face implementation, placed online for student access
- Less inclusive of media or inclusive of media that is freely available online and perhaps outdated and less engaging
- Less structured as it is evolving as the instructor learns new strategies and tools. This can leave learners feeling confused, overwhelmed, and less engaged which typically results in decreased participation.
- Less socially driven without successful implementation of opportunities for peer-interaction
- Task-oriented with a list of specific assignments for learners to complete and submit, rather than student-oriented with a variety of learning opportunities for students to select from.
- Less responsive as instructors are busy learning how to use the LMS and updating curriculum to be placed online. This limits their time for providing feedback, student support, and interaction.
In sum, at its best, remote learning barely gets the job done. Teachers are bogged down by technology. Students are confused and overwhelmed by the lack of structure. Publishers must make a distinction between remote and online learning when creating content. Providers must focus on how online learning lets teachers focus on their students and fill learning gaps. Parents and teachers need to know that online learning is more vigorous and richer than remote learning. In this season of change, publishers need to be vigilant in distinguishing remote and online learning.