Saturday, February 23, 2013

E-learning and Canned Instruction: A Contradiction in Terms?

The following is a guest post by Laura DeSena.

Not all online education programs are the same. Currently, most conversations on the topic on online education are oversimplified.  Complexities must be addressed on this topic for a true critical assessment of online education to actually happen.

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The first significant distinction that must be considered for the conversation about online learning to be valid is that between synchronous and asynchronous instruction.  In synchronous or live online instruction, students and teachers log on together in the virtual classroom. This is pure -- unfiltered by reflection -- interaction and in this live setting the social element of learning is not compromised.
 The exceptional moment occurs in meaningful inspiration and encouragement in the timber and inflection of a voice, in the subtleties of harmony of thought process in synchronous time and the authentic epiphany.

The teacher cannot be factored out of the equation of learning. Teaching in the moment is quite different from the packaged/canned asynchronous learning environment -- particularly in terms of critical discourse. Canned/pre-packaged curriculum with asynchronous online education does not embrace reflection in the way that Web 2.0 tools – like collaborative sites such as discussion boards  and online presentation tools – do and curation sites  -- like Pinterest -- do.  Synchronous fosters expression and  non- pre-packaged asynchronous encourages reflection – both elements of the learning process are necessary ones. . Oversimplification of the definition of online learning is not helpful to anyone and it seems that online learning has a negative connotation that it does not deserve.

Laura DeSena is a Teacher of English at West Milford High School (NJ).   She is also the Founder of Innovations in Online Education, Inc.  You can check out her blog HERE


  1. From my experiences, live real time interactions, whether online or face-to-face, can engage participants in moments of magic that cannot be replicated in asynchronous or recorded events. You have to be there to feel it. I teach face-to-face and online synchronously via WizIQ live classes to experience the magic as a teacher and learner.

  2. Online learning becomes a common source of learning nowadays. There are many people who prefer to have this kind of learning because it's easy to achieve and really effective. Good thing that you shared this kind of information.

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  3. Online learning can also be made interactive in variety of ways to overcome some of the shortcomings due to lack of face to face training. I read an interesting whitepaper which gives some pretty unique ideas on making online learning interactive and effective.

  4. I can not agree more with you Laura. I used to teach in face to face classes and when I switched to online mode the first thing that haunted me is how to get connected with your students when I can not see them. After five years of teaching online now I can't feel the difference. Largely because the using virtual classroom of provides with excellent learning/teaching experience. I can not of think of students learning from canned lectures. Without the human element of a teacher it can be very boring.

  5. The online learning models completely differ from the conventional classroom based teaching models. But the online learning models allow students to enhance their knowledge by studying at their own pace and convenience. The option is also suitable for the students already working in several organizations.

  6. I think through online education students can learn more in short time. Online study is booming today, There is one blog on online study which will describe it very well. The link is:

  7. This is very useful post for me and it helps me a lot. Thank you so much for this and have a great time..
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  8. Online education is one of the best way to learn. Nice article. Clean information. Thanks. i am interested to learn acls in online.

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  10. Nice Blog !! i like your blog ..@@

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