23. Online Learning and Teaching Methods

Online learning is increasingly influencing both classroom/campus-based teaching but more importantly, it is leading to new models or designs for teaching and learning.

When commercial movies were first produced, they were basically a transfer of previous music hall and vaudeville acts to the movie screen. Then along came D.W. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation’, which transformed the design of movies, by introducing techniques that were unique to the cinema at the time, such as panoramic long shots, panning shots, realistic battle scenes, and what are now known as special effects.

A similar development has taken place with online learning. Initially, there were two separate influences: designs from classroom teaching; and designs inherited from print-based or multimedia distance education. Over time, though, new designs that fully exploit the unique characteristics of online learning are beginning to emerge.

What we do when we move teaching online is to change the learning environment. Thus, I am beginning to move from talking about teaching methods (which can be the same both in class and online) to design models, where the teaching method is deliberately adapted to the learning environment.