One of the biggest ways the Internet has changed our lives is how we now learn and teach new things. Teaching has changed drastically with the Internet being in everyone’s home, and the change is for the better.
Before I go down the path of all the vast improvements, lets not forget the drawbacks. Joe agreed with me, that the biggest downside to online, is the lack of instant response / feedback. If you watched the first episode of this series, we bring this up too. When you are standing in front a room full of warm bodies, you can ask them questions and cater your lesson to their needs. If you are doing a lecture / talk you can adjust your talk to so that more people in the room understand what you are talking about not covering things that are too advanced, or too easy.
When teaching online, there is no feedback, you have to plan ahead and make sure that you are catering to enough people, and focus heavily from the get go who the course is meant for. Once you know who the course is meant for, you can create the lesson plan. I spend way more time planning an online course for this reason than anything I do in person because I know that I cannot readjust on the fly with an online course, once I record and publish I won’t be re-recording for a few months.
There are few other drawbacks that we pointed out with teaching online, but I feel this is is the highest “con” on my list.
For the few drawbacks, I think that teaching online is way better. For one, you can easily re-iterate on your work. If the first recording didn’t get many hits or people got lost, you can re-shoot and try it again. In person, once you’ve taught a class, you can’t re-teach it to the same people (who will want to come back if they disliked it). This iteration can also help with broken apart courses where maybe 1 lesson is where most of your students are getting stuck, re-shoot just that one part of the course and see if maybe a better or new way of explaining something helps.
Another benefit of teaching online, which also applies to learning, is the formats. Since I prefer lecture-type in person, I may prefer to do something like Front End Masters, where I can record in front of a classroom for live feedback, but still have recorded content. On Caldera Learn, we host our courses as live webinars, which we record. So I as the teacher get the benefit of live interaction (not as good as in person, but not bad), while still being able to record great content for future users to come and learn.
While the Internet has really changed the way that teachers can teach, I’d say an almost better thing is how it has allowed students to learn. As mentioned before, the greatest thing that you have compared to a traditional school environment, is selection. While at school you can try to find the best teacher for the subject, online you can not just find different teachers, you can find different teaching styles.
Front End Masters has their rendition of recorded classroom, you may learn better as if being part of that class. Lynda.com a site I’m an author on, is project-focused courses (you build something as the course), but its more of a one-on-one interaction where the teacher guides you through the project. With Caldera Learn we teach in live webinar format giving you live access to ask questions and get answers without having to go to a classroom.
On top of all the different teaching methods, there is also the teachers themselves. You might learn more from Tonya than from me because you prefer her teaching style, her voice, or even can relate more to her logic when it comes to code. There are a lot of factors that might help you “connect” more to one teacher or another, and the Internet allows you to try out all of them, at a fraction of the price of tuition.