Distance Learning

When you think about e-learning or online training what comes to mind? For me it's college experiences using Blackboard which can sometimes amount to nothing more than a correspondence course.

Don't get me wrong. I love the fact that colleges are offering online classes. I am the perfect demographic for these programs...working mom with a two-year-old and another on the way. How else could I do it all!

My first online course was about 10 years ago. I took a telecourse for Cultural Anthropology. This was an effective way to learn the material. Watching videos of different cultures really added to the experience. I took a Public Speaking class that was taught the same way. Again watching good and bad examples of public speaking is a great way to learn.

Since then I've taken close to a dozen online classes and while it seems to be taking forever for me to complete my degree, it has been interesting to see the progression of online learning over the years. This semester I am taking my second level Spanish class. I don't have a great success rate with learning languages. I have dropped this course three times when taking it in a classroom because I am very intimidated in a classroom setting where no English is allowed to be spoken. I was happy to see that a local college was offering this entirely online, but I wondered how a foreign language could be taught online given my past experiences. I have to admit so far I am impressed.

The textbook is online and completely interactive. Click a word and the word is pronounced for you. There are graded activities as well. But how does the instructor know if you are really learning the material? Recordings. Each chapter has assigned exercises that you must record and submit online to the instructor.

What a great idea! Online learning has come a long way since the telecourses I took long, long ago. But the true measure of success will be can I get through this class!