The rate at which technology is changing is so rapid, that much of what students in college programs learn is obsolete in a couple years. “Half of what has been learned by the student of engineering, for example, is out of date 18 months after graduation” (p.275). Moore, et. al., also reported that “One estimate (June, 2010) indicates there are almost 2 billion people or 28.7 percent of the world population online (see http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm). By this estimate, about 77 percent of the U.S. population has access to the Internet” (p.274).
Learners at one point were mainly on ground (or face to face) learners and could expect to attend a four year program, and be set for the rest of their careers. With the change in technology, “One effect of this continuous expansion of information is that the process of turning information into knowledge—that is, learning—must also be continuous” (276). With this need for continued learning, comes the need for online learning to support learners across the board.
Research reported at OLC shows that, “More non-traditional students choose online learning as do a greater percentage of graduate students.” There is much research on how to best deliver online courses to increase success. K. Vignare of OLC Insights mentioned, “Institutions who serve non-traditional adults must begin to get better at strategically aligning their practices to support students in multiple delivery modes.”
At Texas A&M, a team of professionals discussed ways to help k-12 online teachers. They said “…it is crucial to ensure that K-12 teachers are provided with the necessary design skills to deliver quality online courses” (Quiroz, et al, p.124). They stress the need for thorough training vs. a quick 1-2 day training session, and a standards based approach through authentic, project based learning.
It’s critical for teachers or professionals in virtually any field to continue learning to keep up with new knowledge. Through continued learning, teachers can be successful in the delivery of content, use current pedagogies, and up to date and successful modes of technology.
Moore, Michael G.; Kearsley, Greg (2011-04-22). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning (Whats New in Education) (Page 275). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.
Quiroz, R., Nicola, R., Li Y., Newton R. & Palkar, T. (2016). Standards Based Design: Teaching K-12 Educators to Build Quality Online Courses. Journal of Online Learning Research (2016) 2(2), 123-144. Retrieved from: http://www.learntechlib.org/p/171354
Vignare, K (2016). OLC Insights: OLC’s Blogs: Is Student Success as Simple as Good Practices? Online Learning Consortium. Retrieved from: http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/student-success-simple-good-practices/