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What is online learning and how is it different from other types of learning?

This may seem like a silly question, most of us know that having a course online means more people are able to access your course at any time and in any place (as long as they have Internet access).  We’re talking 24 hours a day anywhere in the world.

 

There are great benefits to have a course or training online and there is more to it than posting a series of videos on your website and directing your traffic there.

 

A beautiful thing about online learning is that it encourages interaction from all the different people taking the course. Putting your course online means that you can facilitate discussions about topics. When people ask questions and share their knowledge by answering other people’s questions and supporting others, they gain a much deeper level of learning. It’s not just watching and doing, it’s a much fuller participation.

 

Discussions are a very simple way of engaging people. You can easily encourage participation by asking open ended questions stemming from your learning materials. This is also easy to set up but you may need to learn a few facilitation skills (remember negative answers might just be a frustrated learner).

 

There is an emerging trend for gamifying online learning. This can work with player interactions, making achievable aims and basically having fun. Check out Jane McGonigal on TED.

 

Being online allows you to use a lot of resources, the most common software are those that amalgamate slide shows, quizzes and other support systems (images, maps etc) into one easy to use course. These are often used for organisational and in-house training.

 

It is important you ask yourself what you want to achieve through your course and to encourage participant interactions.