http://aaeebl.org/Resources/Pictures/aaeebl%20banner%20919.jpgBy Trent Batson. We read in a New York Times lead editorial --http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/opinion/the-trouble-with-online-college.html?hp&_r=0 -- that online learning does not work very well.  Or we read or hear, from numerous sources, that MOOCs (as one form of online learning) are either the wave of the future or, maybe, the end of college as we know it.  Confusion reigns.  How should we think about the accelerated growth in online learning opportunities and MOOCs -- Massive Open Online Courses?
A widely-held but false assumption about education can perhaps help explain the confusion: many people seem to believe that, because we have had essentially one dominant model for formal learning (with slight variations) for centuries, we will similarly continue with a new, single, dominant model of learning once the dust settles.  MOOCs come along, draw massive numbers, receive significant venture capital, are associated with a number of elite universities, and commentators make it seem this is the next silver bullet, the next singular model of learning.  Part of the near hysteria about MOOCs may be grounded in either/or thinking:  we either have the traditional classroom model of today or we all do MOOCs.  We may be laboring under the false assumption that learning can happen only one way; no matter what direction we go in with formal learning, we will have just one dominant model. Read more...