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e-learning is b-learning

e-learning is b-learning

First, let me say that I do appreciate Daphne Koller's initiative, to the extent that there is a vision of providing academic education to people who coulkd not otherwize afford it.

However, thus far e-learning is not developed enough to being able to offering a good alternative to on-campus education. Most e-learning (also higher e-education) involves little, if any, true interaction. There is even a risk that an increased trust in e-learning is used as a rationale for universities to rationalize and, thus, providing worse quality.

The kind of e-learning that Daphne Koller describes might be a good solution for the kind of learning that implies learning facts and memorizing. However, for the kind of learning that I would call academic, in which the students interact with teachers and other students in order to train on critical thinking nd becoming independent learners, current ways of arranging e-learning are of little use.

In my own subject - management and leadership - experiential learning has lately been introduced as a way to make the education more useful. In combination with critical thinking, I dare to say that management and leadership education has grown into a true academic discipline.

This positive development runs the risk of being ruined by focusing too much on an e-learning model that is not yet developed enough to offer true interaction. Beause higher education is about maturing, questionning, developing and growing, rather than memorizing or replicating.

Dr. Anders Ă–rtenblad
Associate Professor and Director of Teaching Development
Nottingham University Business School China


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  • Aug 31 2012: You need to clarify what e-learning is to or see this debate under a different light.

    1) Wider audience reach. It is about leveraging technology to reach a wider audience of people hence enhancing the experience and providing cost effective options for students.

    2) Interactivity. You are making the wrong assumption that e-learning is not truly interactive when in fact e-learning can challenge academic learning on that very same field. Interactivity on e-learning? Imagine something simple as a teacher asking "class, did you understand this?" and doing a real time anonymous poll and getting exactly what was not understood. Or students posting challenges as the teacher speaks. Or student doctors all operating via remote on a virtual setting, getting corrected and graded on the spot. Little open mind professor...

    3) Critical thinking. Please it depends on personality and skill. It is only then a matter of assigning the person with the right skills to lead such type of learning.

    And so on.

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