You’ve heard us time and time again tout the benefits of online learning, and what it brings to the world of education. It’s no surprise, then, that the prevalence of online learning – especially its preference over traditional, in-person methods – is growing daily around the world. In fact, according to GoConqr’s Online Learning Report 2017 – which analyzes the online learning behavior of more than 2.5 million students and teachers – each region of the world seems to have its own strength when it comes to this method of education. The U.S., for example, houses the most variety of e-learning tools, while the UAE leads in learning via a mobile device.
However, one factor that is consistent among online learning platforms in every country is the lack of a human element in edtech. Too often, e-learning platforms and MOOCs tend to stay aligned with their technology-based roots – it’s a technology platform, so why not let technology be the focus?
At OpenClassrooms, we’re quite the opposite. We’re big believers in weaving a human element into all we do to help our students succeed, including through our courses, mentorship program and in connecting peers through the online community.
In recent years, academic studies and surveys have found students tend to be most interested in having engaging, interactive online courses that enable active learning. The GoConqr study mentioned above even found a strong trend towards active learning and visually engaging material, an area in which “the offline world simply cannot compete with the online one.”
Each of our courses is handcrafted by our network of teachers and/or field experts to give students a unique experience. A course is made up of one or more sections that includes either text or visual assets such as images (such as diagrams, photographs, etc.) and short videos to create a more dynamic and efficient learning experience.
The lifeblood of OpenClassrooms lies in our mentors, who serve as passionate and qualified resources for our students. Studies show that students who interact with mentors through online learning typically feel more engaged, satisfied and motivated – similar to traditional, in-person learning environments – than if they solely engaged in online learning sans the human element.
In fact, the annual Gallup-Purdue Index found the odds of being engaged at work are nearly two times higher if students had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.
That’s why we provide our students with weekly, one-on-one access to a mentor to help establish and build a professional relationship. Mentors can adapt training to meet student needs, provide guidance and support via hour-long video chats and motivate students to meet their goals. To show our appreciation for all our mentors do, we’ve started a blog series – ‘Meet a Mentor’ – which highlights the excellent team we have on-staff and who help guide our students through their career paths.
Learning from Peers
There are also many existing studies and articles that focus on the value and importance of social learning – the capability for students to interact with each other – in both online and traditional learning models. Social learning, also called ‘peer learning’ and ‘collaborative learning’, is projected to be a big focus for businesses, with 73 percent of companies surveyed by the Brandon Hall Group expected to prioritize this in the near term.
At OpenClassrooms, we link you with a community of peers via Facebook’s Workplace platform to chat with fellow students within your learning path to collaborate, motivate, get feedback and brainstorm all things related to what you’re interested in. Workplace also gives you the opportunity to interact with mentors and student advisors via the collaborative work space and chat system! Assignments are also graded by your peers to create a community where you can learn and grow together, corresponding with academic research that shows peer-to-peer evaluation can often be as effective as evaluation by a teacher.
In closing, the benefits of the human element in online learning is not something that should be ignored. Achievement and motivation is tied to this integration, and will be increasingly important to keep in mind for the success of individuals and businesses alike. Like what you’ve read? Have any particular experience in this subject? Let us know how weaving in the human element has helped propel you in your academics and/or career!