The course I chose to take and review was on Alison.com. It was a short course on personal health and fitness. It was divided into 5 learning modules with a varying number of topics per module. I covered the first 5 topics which was all of module one. It gave an overview of what health is and how it is defined differently (physical, emotional, mental) depending on who you are talking to. It was presented in a PowerPoint type fashion. You read the information on the screen and clicked next to go onto the next slide per say. It did have a test at the end as well to test your knowledge. I have taken other courses like this for work to fulfill continuing education credits and job requirements. The healthy living course was set for 2 hours. I have taken 40-50 hour courses online before.
For me, this is not the optimal way to learn. I guess I have a form of ADD to this type of learning because I lose interest really quick. My mind starts to wonder. Now, if the information was presented in a face-to-face fashion, that keeps my attention for a longer time. For some people, this type of learning is great, but it is not for everyone. The course did have some good information to present, but I just found it hard to keep going. My self-discipline (one of the keys to online learning success) is low for these types of course, because the access to surf the internet or something is right there. And this was a two-hour course. When I had to complete the 40-hour course for work, it took me 3 months to complete it. I found it very difficult to stay motivated, especially since I was not 100% interested in the subject.
The challenges with online education for K-12 is keeping the students motivated and interested. I remember being in high school and you were more worried about sports practice or what you would be doing over the weekend then class most of the time. If one isn’t very self-disciplined to getting work done, online learning will be a challenge. Now, I can see it being advantages, because I could move through the course as quickly as I wanted to. I did not have to wait for others to “get” the information before moving on. That is a plus. So, if I could complete the class in an hour and that was all I needed to do for the day, my learning session would be over relatively quickly and I could get on with other things for the rest of the day instead of sitting in class.
All in all, I personally am not a fan of online learning. I guess I am an “old hat” in that sense. I would rather sit through the class because of the human interaction. Others will love the online learning format. The biggest draw to me in the flexibility it gives. It gives me the chance to complete the assignments on my time and not be strapped to a schedule. This really helps out when you work full-time and have a family.