Listen to what eLearning guru Chris Wirick has to say:
The Pain and Peril of Live Group Instruction
I had the misfortune of attending a live Web-based class today on a new content management system being used by my organization. I'm sure you can correctly guess exactly how it went. One learner in the class brought things to a grinding halt as she fumbled with multiple windows and documents on her end, trying to click links being shown on the instructor's shared screen rather than switching to her own browser window and clicking them there, etc. The instructor struggled mightily (but blindly) to assist, but to no avail. After a half hour of this, she finally got frustrated enough to drop out of the session entirely (thankfully - which sounds cruel, but you've thought it too), allowing us to proceed.
Of course I use the word "proceed" loosely, as another learner quickly announced that he had become lost in the group exercise 10 minutes ago. Again, brakes were applied, the gear shift was thrown into reverse, and we all got to sit and stare at our fingernails (or Facebook) as the instructor spent the next 15 minutes trying to get this lost soul caught up with the rest of the group. The instructor's frustration was obvious, the exasperation of the other learners was silent but assumed, and another learning experience was flushed into the abyss.
We've all sat through sessions just like this, whether in a virtual classroom or a real one. Does anyone seriously believe that this is the way to learn? And if not, why do we keep trying it?
The problem with live instruction is the pace is inherently limited to the slowest learner in the group. It always has been this way, it always will be this way. There can be only one pace in the classroom, and that pace is typically slow. Live classroom instruction is akin to trying to run a marathon while tied at the waist to a group of other runners, at least one of which is suffering from a bad ankle sprain. Does this make any sense? Of course not. So why do we apply that very approach to education?
Imagine if you could compress your entire K-12 educational experience by eliminating all the downtime spent catering to the slowest student or the time spent controlling the unruly ones. If you could have moved at your own pace, how long would it have taken you to learn everything you did learn under that conventional system? 5 years? Less?
Imagine if that slowest student could be spared the everlasting humiliation (and permanently scarred self-esteem) from being personally tended to while the rest of the group stares in disapproval and mockery.
Imagine how much smarter we would be as a society if we weren't lumped together into a Lowest Common Denominator learning system.
Perhaps webinars are better suited for small group meetings where collaboration is vital, not virtual classrooms with so many students that the instructor never even gets around to answering your 'typed in' question.
Import Export Geeks courses let you move at your own pace, backing up to repeat a section if necessary, skipping over the easy parts. It's like you're the only student in the room because, well, you are.
And if you want some "extra credit" work, we have the Import Export Geeks Blog. You can even Ask the Geek your own questions. How cool is that?
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