The Internet was 25 years old recently and it’s astounding the impact that it’s had on the world in that period of time and no area more than in education. The World Wide Web has changed the way we learn, find knowledge and teach and will continue to do so continuously in the near future. So, we thought we’d take a look at the history of learning online and also some of what we expect too.
The Open University begins in the UK in 1971 and offers an open admission policy. The Open University doesn’t have any means other than television to broadcast to people – however that doesn’t stop 25,000 students enrolling in it initially.
The first online school comes about in 1989 when the University of Phoenix launches a private for profit online school. This is followed on with Criteria, a creation by William Graziadel III in 1993. It’s the first easy to use e-learning system that’s both scalable and affordable – two very important aspects of e-learning.
However, it’s not until that the term e-learning or electronic-learning is coined at an educational seminar.
In 2004 Salman Khan uses a new innovation known as YouTube to record instructional videos, showing his cousins how to solve specific math’s problems. This seems a success and he founds the Khan Academy – a non-profit educational organisation. The modern day version of e-learning is now in existence.
Needless to say the opportunities are significant and by 2011 there are around 250,000 people taking online courses via Open University in the UK. The University of Phoenix has around twice as many students at this time – a gigantic leap and an endorsement for e-learning.
How the Web is changing how we learn
Traditional institutions and also e-learning organisations have shifted the classroom online and in the last decade or less we’ve begun to learn quite differently to the way we used to. So, what are the notable changes?
Over half of all students who take online courses at third level are over the age of 26. This means that e-learning has been very notable in allowing people who otherwise wouldn’t have the time to take a class or a course to do just that.
Tutoring is another area where e-learning has revolutionised the way we learn. Students no longer need to travel to tutors and can avail of lessons on a live one-to-one basis via the medium of the Internet. It’s a fantastic way to give children great tutoring wherever they are for any subject they require.
In the USA a lot of Universities can’t meet the demand for online courses such is the level of engagement and requirement for these courses.
One of the big trends has been the adoption of the tablet computer as a means for education. IPad apps and Android software offer fantastic, engaging opportunities for learning online
So, as you can see e-learning has greatly changed the way we live and the way we learn and is only going to become more prevalent in the future.