Online learning

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Online learning allows for flexibility of acess, from anywhere and usually at anytime essentially, it allows participants to collapse time and space however, the learning materials must be designed properly to engage the learner and promote learning has many promises, but it takes commitment and resources,and it must be done right. “Doing it right” means that online learning materials must be designed properly,with the learners and learning in focus, and adequate support must be provided, suggest that online learning should have high authenticity(ie, students should learn in the context of the workplace), high interactivity, and high collaboration.

The history of online education in the US starts with efforts to combine the internet with in class instruction, where student worked on assignments outside of class. This basic model was a hybrid version of online education. Once blackboard platforms were developed and standardized universities were able to offer more online courses. From this time the number of online university classes have increased at an exponential rate. From the hybrid model different models were developed, culminating in the development of open source and use online classes. The Massive Open Online Courses is the latest form of online education. Open sourced educational services will revolutionize education. For the time being online education is a massive revenue generator for universities. In the future they can become free sources of education. 


Different terminologies have been used for Online learni9ng, a fact that makes it difficult to develop a generic definition. Terms that are commonly used include e-learning, internet learning, distributed learning, networked learning, tele learning, virtual learning, computer assisted learning, web based learning and distance learning. All of these terms imply that the learneris at a distance from the tutor orinstructor, that the learners uses technology to interact with the tutor or instructor and other learners, and that some form of support is provided to learners.

3.Benefits of Online Learning:

Increasingly, organizations are adopting online Learning as the main delivery method to train employees. At the same time, educational institutions are moving toward the use of the internet for delivery, both on campus and at a distance. However, for organizations and institutions to make this often expensive move, there must be a perception that using online learning provides major benefits. Some of the benefits for learners and instructors are outlined below.

For learners, online learningknows no time zones , and location and distance are not an issue. In asynchronous online learning, students can acess the online materials at anytime, while synchronous online learning allows for real time interaction between students and the instructor. Learners can use the intrnet access uptodate and relevant learning materials, and can communicate with experts in the field in which they are studying. Situated learning is facilitated , since learners can complete online courses while working on the job or in their own space, and can contextualize the learning.

For the instructor,tutoring can be done at anytime and from anywhere. Online materials can be updated, and learners are able to see the changes at once. When learners are able to access materials on the internet,it is easier for instructors to direct them to appropriate information based on their needs. If designed properly, online learning systems can be used to determine learner’s need and current level of expertise and to assign appropriate materials for learners to select from to achieve the desired learning outcomes.


The goal of any instructional system is to promote learning. Therefore, before any learning materials are developed, educators must, tacitly or explicitly, know the principles of learning and how students learn. This is especially true for online learning, where the instructor and the learner are separated. The development of effective online learning materials should be based on proven and sound learning theories.

There are many schools of thought on learning nd no one school is used exclusively to design online materials. As there is no single learning theory to follow, one can use a combination of theories to develop online learning materials. In addition , as research progresses, a new theories are evolving that should be used in developing online materials. The online developer must know the different approaches to learning in order to select the most appropriate instructional strategies. Learning strategies should be selected to motivate learners, facilitate contextual learning, and provide support during the learning process.


1.Learners should be told the explicit outcomes of the learning so that they can set expectations and can judge for themselves whether or not they have achieved the outcome of th e online lesson.

2.Learners must be tested to determine whether or not they have achieved the learning outcome. Online testing or other forms of testing and assessment should be integrated into the learning process to check the learner’s achievement level and to provide appropriate feedback.

3.Learning materials must be sequenced appropriately to promote learning. The sequencing could take the form of simple to complex, known to unknown and knowledge to application.

4.Learners must be provided with feedback so that they can monitor how they are doing and take corrective action if required.


<1> Strategies should be used to allow learners to perceive and attend to the information so that it can be transferred to working memory. Learners use their sensory systems to register the information in the form of sensations .Strategies to facilitate maximum sensation should be used. Examples include the proper location of the information on the screen, the attributes of the screen(color, graphics, size of text, etc), the pacing of the information and the mode of delivery(audio, visuals, animations, video) .

Strategies to promote perception and attention for online learning include those listed below  :

a.Important information should be placed in the center of the screen for reading, and learners must be able to read from left to right.

b.Information critical for learning should be highlighted to focus learners attention. For example, in an online lesson, headings should be used to organize the details and formatted to allow learners to attend and process the information they contain.

c.Learners should be told why they should take the lesson, so that they can attend to the information throughout the lesson.

<2> The difficulty level of the material must match the cognitive level of the learner, so that the learner can both attend to and relate to the material. Links to both simpler and more complicated materials can be used to accommodate learners at different knowledge level.

See also