education, technology, online learning debate

Critics Battle Over Online Learning

July 30, 2008 09:44 AM
by Christopher Coats
A rousing debate has emerged about the effectiveness and quality of online learning, with some suggesting the Internet has the power to redefine the way we learn, teach and ultimately think.

30-Second Summary

Critics have been quick to dismiss online reading and study practices as offering a less than complete educational experience, providing quickly digestible snippets of information, rather than an entire picture.

Observers also suggest that faced with an abundance of information from so many different sources, Internet users, young and old, have more trouble concentrating on one subject for any amount of time.

However, proponents of Internet learning have suggested that reading online can provide a fuller experience thanks to the variety of different resources they can find on the same subject.

Further, they argue that the quick pace of life online has the potential to redefine not only what we learn, but also how we learn and think.

Such changes in style and strategies, they argue, would mean a dramatic shift away from what they see as outdated educational models as well as the tools necessary for assessing the performance of students.

Existing approaches to testing have revealed positive statistics for both sides of the argument, finding that although some students’ reading levels have suffered with increased Internet use, others thrived.

Still others have been seen to improve research and analytical skills, which many not be as readily measurable thanks to traditional testing methods.

Headline Links: ‘Literacy Debate’

Reactions: ‘Online Education: Moving Past the Debate’

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Related Topic: Challenges of online learning

Background: Milennials


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