What is Online Learning?

Online learning refers to both formal and informal educational opportunities that take place through the web. This topic experienced a surge of interest with the rise of massive open online courses in 2012, and has since been garnering greater acceptance as a mode of learning that can complement face-to-face instruction in blended learning approaches — or stand on its own. As leaders have gained a better understanding of this field, they have been conducting numerous related online learning experiments; educators are becoming more comfortable testing various levels of integration in their existing courses, and many believe that online learning can be an effective catalyst for thoughtful discussion on all pedagogical practice. Indeed, online learning is undergoing a sea change, with every dimension of the process open for reconceptualization.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • This is now just taken for granted, "digital air," if you will. No need to have this as a topic.- weberj weberj Feb 28, 2016
  • I think it's significant/relevant that more and more smaller and mid-size museums are entering into the realm of online learning and course development, ranging from developing original content to contributing content to other platforms and initiatives. - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 28, 2016
  • There are some ways to move this forward that i think might be important. It seems a potential waste of time for some or most museums to be developing on-line curricula and materials in isolation. I'm not sure who the coordinating umbrella organization should be, but a database of rich media and well-defined lesson plans (if not complete available courses) could be very helpful to many museums. An alternative would be the pooling of development resources from several museums to pay for courses that they can all use. Imagine something developed by National Geographic, Stanford or the Smithsonian that we could easily customize for our own institutions (and all we had to do was agree upon how to spend our on-line courseware budgets!). - dallen dallen Feb 29, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I don't know if it's important, but this topic has two broad categories: Live learning that's available online at a particular time (online broadcasting of classes) and already created courseware and materials that are available anytime and anyplace online. The technologies to handle each of these has some key differences and institutions could use some help in developing solutions.- dallen dallen Feb 29, 2016
  • The model developed for mathematics classrooms at the the Khan Academy caused the revolution of the "flipped classroom." This could add a couple of themes to this topic: Khan (and others) offers some outstanding art courseware - should we simply point our customers to these for learning and we offer in-museum (or other online) practicum to go along with the lectures they (were supposed to) watch online? And should we become aggregators for (and maybe editors that know what's good or bad) existing online classes instead of developing this at all? https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/
    - dallen dallen Feb 29, 2016
  • I agree and have been amazed at the way Khan Academy revolutionized online learning. There seems to be a great opportunity for museums who have digital content, curricula and PD courses to partner with Khan Academy as they have expanded their content area beyond Math to Humanities, History and Arts. Rather than museums reinventing the wheel with building their own Learning Management Systems (LMS) to host online learning which can be pretty expensive, it might be a great idea to partner with organizations like the Khan Academy. It is also well funded and growing:-). pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016
  • I think it might be helpful to also look into many of the Virtual High Schools and Universities and learn from their experiences both positive and negative.pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • This type of learning can supplement (or introduce topics for) "butt seat" classes and make learning available to an exponentially larger audience. In addition, the quality of the classes can be dramatically improved if aggregated money is spent on rich media classes developed by quality, national organizations and shared with individual museums. - dallen dallen Feb 29, 2016
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  • I see great potential for museums and online learning, specifically tied to teacher training both for Pre-service/Teacher prep and general Professional Development. Many online courses if build well can also offer CEC (credits) which teachers love.pgangopadhyay- PGangopadhyay PGangopadhyay Feb 29, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • I believe the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is developing new online courses, both for adult learners and for K-12 students in collaboration with local school districts. - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 28, 2016
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