7 ways humans are critical to online learning

Blended learning done right is the ‘gold standard,’ say experts

online-learning-humansOnline courses that are credit-bearing hold incredible promise for high school and college students eager for flexible schedules and a cheaper education alternative; but as one study shows, it’s the skilled human element part of blended learning that offers the maximum benefits.

The study, “Innovating Toward Equity with Online Courses: Testing the optimal ‘blend’ of in-person human supports with low-income youth and teachers in California,” conducted by the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence at the University of California, San Diego, aimed to understand whether or not humans played a critical role to credited online learning—and if so, in what capacity?

“In California, online self-education is key to one definition of ‘equity,’ particularly for low-income youth…Many scholars celebrate moments when youth teach themselves using computers, seemingly making a teacher or even physical schools seem unnecessary,” explained the report’s authors. “What should human instructors still be paid to do?”

According to the results of the 2013 study, researchers found seven varieties of in-person human supports that were frequent in successful online learning credited courses—creating the “gold standard for online learning.”

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