I was recently reminded that almost ALL instruction today has an online component. I was speaking with a colleague who decided to tackle what I would consider to be a complex plumbing project at home simply by reviewing online “how to” videos. She had no plumbing experience, and yet she was able to discover the tools and techniques she needed online, learn from experts and solve her problem while gaining real-world experience (all without flooding her kitchen).
In the last 20 years–17 of which I’ve worked at the non-profit The Virtual High School–I’ve seen education, and the ways in which our students gather information, dramatically change. Informal learning has certainly grown by leaps and bounds through the use of online education and online resources in many forms. Our challenge as educators is to leverage our students’ desires and preferences to use online education while advancing their learning. With the flood of information available, what does practical and effective online instruction even look like?
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