The Power of Online Learning and The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
In the past decade, the changes and improvements that technology has brought us have been enormous. The rapid pace with which we are adapting ourselves to use these capabilities is unprecedented. Technology has revolutionized many industries, but some areas still have not been fully changed. Education is an area that holds a huge potential for improvement with the correct implementations of technology. One of the most rapidly growing areas of change is occurring in Online Education. The most recent phenomenon is the creation of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. These are free, open, online courses that are structured in such a way that huge numbers of students can be enrolled. Some of the enrollments have been reported in the tens of thousands. We all have a memory of our favorite teacher, the one that really captivated our attention and had a true ability to help us understand. MOOCs have the capability to bring the best teachers to massive audiences, so that large numbers of students could learn from the best instructors. Theoretically, MOOCs could bring those ‘favorite teachers’ to every student on the globe! The courses use the latest in instructional design principles and learning theory. They attempt to improve learning by being structured with an understanding of how humans learn best. Instead of hour-long lectures, brief video lessons are typically interjected with frequent quizzes and assessments to ensure that students understand the material as they progress. The brief nature of many of the course lessons caters to the idea that attention spans in most of us are short and it is easy to lose focus during long, drawn-out lectures. MOOCs are attempting to use learning theories such as this to create courses that improve learning capabilities over classic in-person lecture models. Bringing together learning theories and the vast wealth of knowledge that is...
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