Author(s): Kelvin Joy, University of Pennsylvania
Online learning can be as good or even better than in-person classroom learning. Research has shown that students in online learning performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction, but it has to be done right. The best online learning combines elements where students go at their own pace, on their own time, and are set up to think deeply and critically about subject matter combined with elements where students go online at the same time and interact with other students, their teacher and content. Teachers need to distill their key goals and leverage technology features to meet them. Used well — online chat, discussion forums, replayable video lessons, online meetings, etc. offer tremendous opportunities to make students more engaged (and accountable) compared to time-strapped classrooms where students hide and few hands shoot up.The downside is that this stuff takes work; we know from research that pedagogy matters. Educators can’t just scan the textbook, record the lesson, put them online and expect the same or better learning.