TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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

Topics: E-LEARNING
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 31 2012: On the contrary, you can say e-learning is better than traditional learning.

    "Most e-learning (also higher e-education) involves little, if any, true interaction."

    Most big lectures offer little to no interaction as well. It's just a one-way communication from a singular source (professor) to multiple receivers (students), and there's little to no feedback whatsoever. You can say that the students are encouraged to ask questions and whatnot, but this is also not particularly true either. The teacher is only given 1 hour to teach the lesson plan. He can't spend too much time on questions. There will also be a lot of professors who are just really hard to understand in general, like a Chinese mathematician who has a heavy Chinese accent when explaining things in English.

    In Coursera, each lecture is more 1 on 1, though you're right that there's little direct feedback while in lecture. If you missed something, you can replay the lecture, whereas you can't do that in a real lecture. You can also attend the lecture anywhere at anytime, so now this allows even people who are at work during the day, attend this class at night. There are also forums and comments, where professors will create an "Ask me Anything"-style post. You and other students can give feedback to help teachers improve the way they explain/present things too.

    And the other thing is, a lot of the e-learning sites like Khan Academy and Coursera is free. College tuition can be like $18,000 per semester.


    So point is, you can say that e-learning is b-learning, but comparatively traditional lectures is c-learning.
    • Sep 17 2012: Anders means you can adapt lesson flow in traditional class. Imagine adding that pertinent life experience one student had. Or adding a specific explanation. Or discussing another topic, maybe cause someone had a interest about a "unique field".
      While i don't like this mutually exclusive way of teaching, i can see reasons. It might be true for some areas where 6 months introduce great changes, or even between hours classes, in this situation, it could be class focus is at wrong subject?
      I mean for closed fields -if they exist, and there is no need to change- it's a good solution.
      Otherwise, people can productively argue on comments, imagine 4 thousand smart people crossing thoughts.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.