17 Feb 2017

Different Modes of Online Learning Debunked

By Geralyne Kaye Ong

With the Internet at our disposal, learning is no longer confined to four walls, a chalkboard and a room filled with study tables and chairs. Large amounts of scholarly data in the form of PDF documents, tutorial videos and even PowerPoint slides are now available at the touch of our fingertips - regardless of discipline. This makes picking up a new skill or upgrading a professional skill more accessible and convenient than ever before.

With so many different types of online courses available, it can be confusing and difficult to navigate around – especially for someone who is unfamiliar with this concept. So here are a few common modes of online learning to get acquainted with, before jumping on the learning bandwagon.

“Live” Learning
Its delivery is similar to the traditional teaching structure, except that “live” learning brings all physical classroom interaction to the virtual environment. Lectures and examinations are conducted at fixed times, students attend classes via video conference or audio calls and all assignments are submitted via a dedicated portal. Students are able to participate in class and clarify doubts by posing questions in real-time on virtual blackboards or instant messaging and emails.

Hybrid Learning
Hybrid learning is defined as learning which takes place in both physical classrooms and online - a mix of “live” and traditional learning. Most universities are slowly progressing to this model of delivering their classes, especially those which have collaborations with overseas universities. This structure provides students the versatility of planning their study schedule while providing a more personal approach during tutorials or lab sessions, where hands-on learning is needed.

Instructional Learning
These usually come in the form of lecture or seminar videos and PowerPoint presentations which have been recorded and shared online, or more commonly known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). Apart from being able to learn at your own pace, MOOC cover a wide spectrum of disciplines and are mostly free. Although most of these courses do not offer professional or completion certifications, there are a handful which do. These MOCC require students to fulfil a certain amount of hours studying the materials provided, and pass an examination at the end of the course.

Inspired to pick up an online course? Here are some interesting ones which might be right up your alley.