"Much has changed in the past few months and terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but have very different meanings", Dr Olin O Oedekoven President of Peregrine Global says. He should know as he founded the computer based assessment and learning content for nearly 15 years, perhaps much ahead most peers who are today seeking to carve a piece of the fast expanding virtual teaching, learning & assessment pie.
"I think it is important to use the correct terms when describing the education delivery modalities. It is not appropriate to use remote and online interchangeable since they are very different and calling what was remote education online gives online a bad reputation", Olin points out. Because of Covid 19, many schools said they went “online” when in actuality, they went “remote”. Online education is very, very different from remote education or even blended education. Remote is simply where the same professor is lecturing using Zoom instead of in a classroom. By using the term “online” instead of “remote”, the result was that these schools gave “online” a bad reputation.
Olin offers the new vocabulary and critical terms that need to be used to understand exactly what we mean by various terms that are being used interchangeably today.
In-person. This is the traditional approach with a classroom of students and a professor teaching course materials.
Remote. This is what many school did where they sent students home and had them join via Zoom or some other platform to listen to lectures. The only difference between remote and in-person is the location of the students. The instruction did not change.
Online. This is what many schools like Ashford, University of Phoenix, Capella, Walden, etc. offer. The school has a Learning Management System (LMS) and the students log into that LMS to obtain instructional content and submit assignments. Participation is asynchronous, meaning the course professor does not require to be on a webinar at specific times. A student can complete a course and never actually hear or speak to their course professor.
Blended. This is a combination of online and either in-person or remote. Most of the instruction is delivered online with some of the instruction delivered remotely, usually in the form of a seminar approach rather than a lecture. This is how my SBS course works where I have 1 seminar period with the students (remote this year), but the course includes online learning modules and written assignments that are done outside of the seminar.
Virtual. When we meet using Zoom or another platform rather than in-person.
Tim Hagen im Hagen, founder of Progress Coaching says "whether we like it or not, our new reality exists in the virtual world. The traditional methods of in-person training and teaching have become temporarily incapacitated, and innovators of eLearning have taken the stage. Our time has come as L & D leaders to take stage and lead our organizations in this unique transitional time"
Virtual learning essentially avoids the need for using a classroom so that students from remote locations would be able to attend a "classroom" almost fully on on an interactive mode.
Facilitated Virtual Learning: This is computer-based, Internet-based or remote teacher online instruction that is supplemented by a human “facilitator.” This facilitator does not direct the student’s instruction, but rather assists the student’s learning process by providing tutoring or additional supervision.
Technology is a big enabler helping the new learners to acquire knowledge. Best part is the barriers to knowledge by way of language, remoteness etc., has been dispensed with today. The coming years would only become more technologically advanced and therefore more beneficial to learning than the years of the past and the B-schools who understand this tectonic shift and are willing and able to invest in the new normal alone will hope to survive with or without the Pandemic forcing people to remain at their home.