Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Why what we mean by “online learning” matters

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Given that 'Online Learning' is two thirds of the title of this newsletter (OLDaily is short for 'Online Learning Daily') it matters quite a bit what we mean by that. Tom Clark is correct insofar as he says 'online learning "is usually taken to refer to teaching and learning that is delivered remotely via digital platforms," but he narrows it needlessly when he adds, "with courses often designed to be taken anytime, and anywhere." It doesn't have to be courses, and it very often involves real-time interaction. But more to the point, the term 'learning' is what we call a 'success term'. That means that something can be called 'learning' only if the effort to learn is (or is expected to be) successful. Not just any content dump counts as learning. And that's what makes it tricky to define 'online learning'.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024 12:14 p.m.

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