MOOCs have made knowledge widely available to a world of learners. Critics, however, point out high dropout rates and the belief that MOOCs do not encourage complex thinking. Barbara Oakley of Oakland University and the creator of one of the most popular MOOCs, “Learning How to Learn,” argues that good online courses can, at times, hold attention better than a live teacher. As we’ve discussed before, humans have short attention spans, which makes a traditional lecture, whether online or live, “out of tune with how our brains work.” Through the power of video, online courses can help overcome difficulties learners experience in a face-to-face environment, namely with engagement: a good online course feels more personal, as if the instructor is speaking with the learner one-on-one. Further, Oakley asserts that “online videos allow students to do what their brains are naturally geared for — focusing, replaying the toughest parts of what they’re trying to learn, then taking a break." Read on to learn more about the science behind the way we learn, and suggestions for creating a good online course.
The Great Debate: Virtual vs. Face-to-Face
Dec 04, 2015