"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand." An ancient proverb dating back to Confucius-era China, this one is well-known and frequently used throughout the educational sphere. While the original author isn’t known for sure, the wisdom behind the words holds true. Look no further than your own experience to prove it. What’s more effective- hearing someone tell you how to repair a car, watching a YouTube tutorial, or getting your hands dirty and trying it for yourself?
Real comprehension and memory tend to come from hands-on experience. The same concept applies to any topic, at any level; the more interactive the learning experience, the greater the quality of education.
The Problem with Lectures
Traditionally, one teaching method dominated colleges and universities: the lecture. Esteemed professors stood at the front of a massive hall of young students who eagerly took notes. Today, this method is still very common. While it allows an educator to impart their knowledge to a large number of students relatively quickly, it leaves little room for student participation. With few opportunities for direct engagement, students can easily lose focus, lose interest, or simply miss the point.
That’s not to say that the lecture hall is useless, but the drawbacks are apparent. So is there a fix for low engagement and poor learning outcomes? Absolutely. The answer lies in the elearning revolution that’s right in front of us.
How Online and Blended Learning Brings Back Hands-On Learning
Learning from a highly educated teacher one-on-one is the ideal learning experience, but in practice it’s extremely impractical. The average student-teacher ratio is 18:1, leaving little time for educators to personalize their lessons for individual students. That’s where blended learning comes in. Blended learning, or the combination of traditional teaching methods and online learning elements, allows students to engage with learning material both in class and at home.
Online elements include everything from educational videos and interactive demonstrations to hands-on assignments and assessments. All of these become valuable tools to encourage class participation and self-motivation. Additionally, they offer teachers a chance to evaluate students’ progress and gain valuable insight into the effectiveness of each lesson.
Teaching in Reverse: Switching It Up in 2019
Beyond effectiveness, online learning allows for a productivity revolution. Rather than spending the entirety of a class solely on a lecture, professors can record lectures for at-home study! This frees up the lecture hall for in-depth discussions, demonstrations, and the kind of practical learning activities that are essential for comprehension and retention. The same amount of material is covered, but with more time to dig deep into the good stuff.
Is Stand-Alone Online Learning Enough? The Answer is YES!
While many argue that blended learning is the ideal balance of technology and in-person instruction, online learning by itself has proven to be a highly effective teaching method as well. Online learning allows for personalization and stimulation beyond traditional classroom instruction. Students can learn at their own pace, with activities that automatically adapt to their unique skills and challenges. As the ancient proverb reminds us, the most memorable learning experiences involve not just reading or listening, but action.
Active learning is a crucial element of any quality online learning program, and many educators have already stepped up to the challenge. If you’re ready to bring active learning to your own educational program, we should talk - our Courseware Creator can help you do just that.