The workings of the training and development industry are fascinating — they are full of fruits of discussion that bring into play everything from elementary learning theories to the use of advanced technologies. The topics are endless, the opinions expressive and expansive. There’s plenty of common ground, but even that’s crisscrossed with opposing viewpoints on other educational aspects.
Education is the great equalizer, even as the elements themselves are debated everywhere from Internet chat rooms to Harvard Yard. But debate is good — it helps us learn about others and learn about ourselves. Forming cogent arguments helps solidify opinion, and it can even alter irrational beliefs.
So here’s a topic worthy of spirited discussion, a subject that’s both the product of a new age and an argument imbued with a sense of history: Which education method is more successful: traditional classroom learning or online education? Naturally, the online aspect is a more recent wrinkle, but the heart of the argument is time-honored: Does education take place best in a classroom or at some other point of contact?
Before you rush to your keyboard to share your opinion (something I’d love you to do), let’s set the stage just a bit more.
I recently read a report on a study conducted by Drexel e-Learning and Philadelphia University. The study surveyed the education experiences of adult learners, with about half being online students and about half in traditional degree programs.
The results were fascinating, but we’re not going to resolve the debate here today — the key conclusions were that both traditional and online adult students have similar expectations, similar academic experiences and similar results. Quoth the study: “It appears that the academic perception and quality of traditional and online degree programs is comparative, competitive and provides students with great program delivery options.”
Some other interesting findings:
I’m sure these inconclusive results don’t surprise anyone — all you have to do is read this magazine to see both solutions have their supporters and rightfully so. Education is a broad enough destination that there would have to be more than one route to take you there. And the study didn’t address what’s quickly becoming the boutique solution: blended learning, bringing the best of both possible worlds to the students’ fingertips.
In September, we kicked off our own blended solution, the CLO Colloquium program. The CLO Colloquium is the introductory, in-person event of our CLO Academy, which is working in partnership with Capella University to present a professional credentials program for learning professionals, a program that can lead to an advanced degree earned online.
As those in attendance will tell you, the experience is a great blend of traditional classroom learning in which one can meet and be mentored by industry leaders, as well as discover the benefits of diving deeper into online programs to round out your education.
If you missed the September program, no worries. Our next CLO Academy Colloquium will be in December and then held quarterly throughout 2007. You can check out www. clo-academy.com.
Editor in Chief