Remote Learning Versus Online Learning. Yes, There Is A Difference

Posted on: 15 Apr 2020

As the majority of families across the globe are forced into a homeschool-style education, many are finding it more complicated than they had anticipated.

As the majority of families across the globe are forced into a homeschool-style education for their children, many are finding it slightly more complicated than they had anticipated, and let’s be honest, than they had hoped. 

But there is a light at the end of the self-isolated education tunnel. 

And if nothing else it is simply an understanding that what many are experiencing is remote learning, and not the much more evolved online learning. 

So, what is the difference between remote learning and online learning? It’s quite straight-forward: remote learning is based on a model whereby students are given or sent learning materials and are expected to digest it all before taking an exam or test of some kind to gain a corresponding qualification. The onus is entirely on them (and more often than not, the parents) to stay on track and ‘find all the right answers’. 

That’s a lot of pressure (on everyone involved). 

To put it another way, Susan Grajek of Educause – the association of education technologists, puts it that remote learning is a “quick, ad hoc, low-fidelity mitigation strategy.”

Even with the advent of the ‘Zoom classroom’, this is the type of learning we are seeing globally at the moment, remote. And it’s far from perfect. 

Where online learning truly stands apart is that it is a fundamentally a learning environment designed and created to exist online. 

Classes, curriculum, campuses and teachers all play their part in an experience that is as close to the real world as one can imagine, and in a lot of ways, even better. 

Online learning incorporates what is known as synchronous learning, which means the learning process happens at a learner’s own pace while also taking the form of live classes with teachers and most importantly, fellow students. 

Founder and CEO of Freedom Learning Group (FLG), Nathan Ecelbarger, has outlined what they believe a well-designed online course does:

  • It prioritises engagement by utilising real-world, recent topics and case studies to stir discussion and even emotion while incorporating interactivity and immediate, measurable achievement;

  • It makes organisation and navigation easy, removing unnecessary steps and clicks that don’t contribute anything to learning;

  • It allows for rethinking of assessment by encouraging research and original thinking instead of memorisation; and

  • It always answers the “what’s in it for me?” question for students by building intentional learning experiences and getting straight to the point.

Why haven’t we been doing this for a while then? The truth is, we have. 

Institutes like Harvard and MIT amongst others have introduced online classes which follow this well-defined, highly-interactive and engaging method. Now, for the first time, we are seeing completely online high schools offering a fully-realised international faculty, student-body and accreditation for learners which rival some of the best private schools.  

Join Valenture Institute's free SD Series over the next 3 weeks for a taste of what online learning can really be like!

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