Will online learning platforms ever take off?

Kirsten Winkler runs an interesting blog on online learning with a wide variety of points of view and useful information. I saw this article on why online learning platforms will never take off, so I thought I would try to counter these points. Here is what I said.

I know Kirsten by the way, she once interviewed my in Munich for her podcast. She is a very energetic and interesting person, stirring the pot on the subject of education. Good for her!

Here is what I posted in response to the article, with the seven reasons why online learning will not take off, and my answers. Your views?

1. Reason: The population that is intrinsically motivated to learn is small.

We are conditioned to want to learn all the time, and the market for learning and self-improvement is huge, everywhere. We have been indoctrinated into thinking that learning is something formal that only takes place at school and university, but this is changing. Adult education is booming and many millions of people buy books, CDs and enroll in courses.

2. Reason: Following from Reason 1, among the very small number of people who are really interested in learning, very few are looking for teachers/ courses online.

Perhaps, but more and more are doing so, and if we add the many people looking for learning resources on the Web the number of people wanting to learn on the web is very large indeed. The tools and resources are growing apace.

3. Reason: Following on from the reasons above, even among the small minority of people looking for teachers/ courses online, very few want unaccredited courses or want to pay for these.

Most do not need accreditation, but some do. What’s the big deal here? They can find both on the web.

4. Reason: Learning Online is Boring! Its like college minus the fun

Most people do not have the time and money to attend college, without the support of their parents or the state. Online learning offers a cheaper alternative where learners can choose the content of their learning, whom to learn from, and go elsewhere to party.

5. Reason: Learning Online is not (as) social as going to school.

True, although through online learning communities it offers a different kind of socialization around common interests.

6. Reason: Learning Online can never compete with an Offline Teaching Organizations.

Online learning is just another option, a cheaper and more effective way for more and more people who do not have the option to go to school. As the control in learning moves from teachers to learners, teaching organizations will have to play ball or lose out.

7. Reason: Learning Online is fixing what is not broken.

What is broken is the fact that the present education system destroys motivation. A new entrepreneurial online approach can cater to individual interests and learning habits, offer more choice and freedom, and deliver better results, thus fueling more motivation.

5 thoughts on “Will online learning platforms ever take off?

  1. I agree with you. I think that as far as foreign language are concerned, many adults are motivated to learn online. I can only speak for myself, but I have been using Live Mocha to learn Swedish. I really enjoy it. I get online nearly every day to study. Maybe you should make a YouTube video about this.

  2. Naomi, if you enjoy studying Swedish online with Livemocha, you may also enjoy learning at LingQ.com. That is where I am working on Russian, Portuguese and Korean.

  3. Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they???ll be benefited from this web site.

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