Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Immersion vs. Convenience

I recently read an interesting blog post by Clayton M. Christenson, author of Disrupting Class, who quoted Sarah Lacey of Tech Crunch who was discussing some of the perceived drawbacks of online learning:

“It’s easy to say that online education can never capture the full experience of being in a classroom, the one-on-one chats with the teacher, the face-to-face bonding with classmates, the simplicity of raising your hand when you have a question. Opening a chat window or sending an email just doesn’t compare. The question is: How much do people care about those differences? Because we heard the same argument with CDs versus MP3s, TV versus online video, reading physical books versus reading over a Kindle or iPad. Evidence has shown that in most categories a meaningful group of people will take convenience over immersive experience.” [original source]
When I tell people that I think online learning will become the dominant form of learning in the near future, I frequently hear the argument that online learning will never be as effective as face to face learning because of a loss of face to face interaction. Lacy gives a compelling argument for why this may not be the case. 

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