Outlook for online learning…

Node classroomContinuing with my thinking about how things might be different in 2014 and beyond, I came across an article by Tony Bates this morning titled 2020 Vision: Outlook for online learning in 2014 and way beyond.

Tony's article captures for me what I believe is the biggest challenge schools and our system in general needs to embrace in order to fully realise the potential for 'doing things differently' into the future, and to more appropriately meet the needs of learners in the third millennium. 

Essentially, Tony argues that we need to be moving to more collaborative, blended and open sorts of environments for learning, where the distinctions between face-to-face and online are removed and we see a merging of these things into one. This is consistent with what I've blogged about previously in my thinking about schools as networked learning spaces

Key ideas that Tony explores are:

  • The disappearance of online learning as a separate construct
  • The emergence of multi-mode delivery concentrated in fewer institutions – but more diversity
  • The development of multi-purpose, open delivery, with multiple levels of service and fees
  • The end of the lecture-based course
  • The end of the written exam – and welcome to the final implementation of lifelong learning New financial models
  • The need for systematic faculty development and training
  • Devolved decision-making and organizational models
  • Student privacy, data security and student online behaviour will become more difficult
  • The future is about choices

While the focus of his attention is on the post-secondary system, there's lots to think about here in terms of how our compulsory sector is organised and operates. If we're to consider doing new things in new ways in 2014, there's plenty to stimulate where we might start in this article. 

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