The word exposed means to be open and vulnerable – not sheltered or protected from the elements that exist. So how does that fit into learning?
Often times we find ourselves feeling rather vulnerable in an online space. I guess it is because the possibilities online are infinite. There really is no end to the impact and influence online platforms can have on an individual thus affecting entire communities as a whole.
The average person is constantly being bombarded with information from all around them. Set algorithms have been created so that we get pop up notifications alerting us to new articles and information we may find interesting. More than ever at this moment in time technology has really spiralled into the ultimate expansion of learning tools across the globe.
With the recent global pandemic (Covid19) many more institutions have turned to blended learning models. This has sparked large debate about the openness and effectiveness of online learning as opposed to face to face learning.
Through this year we have seen many online lectures take place. But what has that done for the engagement and social interaction of the student? It is not just about creating a knowledgeable student, but also about creating a student who is able to interact with others. We have found that in many cases there is an information transfer from the lecturer/facilitator to the student who is passively listening and hopefully absorbing and understanding the information presented. Many academics found that students would not engage or turn on their cameras and thus began finding interactive ways to try and gage the effectiveness of each lecture. It is not the same as being in a lecture theatre being able to see the non-verbal communication transmitted by the student.
These main streams of education have for many decades been the forerunners in producing top class academics in the global space. So where then did open online learning platforms come from? How will this impact mainstream education in a time like this?
Truthfully, the niche for these two essential forms of learning is very different. Open online learning platforms have emerged and impacted many people through the age of the fourth industrial revolution but it will not hinder mainstream education in anyway. These platforms have to a great extent forced mainstream education providers to broaden their horizon and offer more online courses. Whilst these courses may not be completely open – it does make it more accessible to the greater population.
ADVANTAGES OF OPEN ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORMS
1 – ACCESSIBILITY
Open online learning is accessible to many more people around the world. Open learning has become so popular that we even find popup adverts on almost all social media networks. Thus, enticing and influencing individuals to upskill themselves.
2 – CROSS CULTURAL INTEGRATION
We have found that many more people are likely to interact with others globally, thus broadening their mindset and shaping their thought processes from alternate perspectives. Its great to be a part of something outside of your community. Through such interaction you grow and learn and develop much more.
3 – STUDENT CENTRIC
These open online courses whilst structured, does allow for learners to study at their own pace. How many times have we felt like morning lectures were not for us? Or that study time just never fitted into our busy lives? And the only time this was possible was maybe at night or in a few days? Open Online Course, make this possible. You don’t have to alter your entire life to study – you merely have to dedicate some time to make it happen where and when it suits you.
4 – STEPPING STONE
These courses can be used as a stepping stone to one finding their career path and studying further. Once a student gets a feel for a certain field this can open up new avenues for growth. All because an open online learning course managed to impact their decisions. At the beginning of this post, it almost felt like being exposed was a negative thing rather than a positive thing. It must be stated that openness can be achieved through positive engagement and interaction between the facilitator and the student as well as peer to peer interaction. Vulnerability in learning creates an atmosphere to grow and be exposed to many new things.