Two of the focuses of my blog are General Education and Technology. The internet has been a game changer on several fronts. Having information and the ability to conduct business with the click of a mouse has created a whole new world. One of the most significant ways it’s changed the world is in the realm of education. The following contributed post is entitled, How the Internet Has Changed The Way We Learn.
* * *
For better, or for worse (mostly better), the internet has changed the way the world learns. Today, if we don’t know the answer to something, the majority of us will reach for our smartphones and ask Google. We are used to having information at our fingertips. Technology has changed the way we view and consume knowledge, allowing those outside the formal education structure the opportunity to learn.
Not only has the internet given the power of knowledge to everyone, but it has also changed our traditional schooling systems too. With an array of tools and technologies, students can enjoy a richer, more engaging experience.
#1 It Allows For An Immersive Experience
Knowledge is no longer simply words on the page of a textbook. Students can learn through webinars, videos, podcasts, virtual reality, and other interactive learning materials. In their blog ‘How To Enhance The Learning Experience With QR Codes’ Flowcode state that this is “a way to approximate an augmented reality experience for students”.
This interactive experience is great for encouraging learning in those that might not respond to a more traditional, book-based approach.
#2 Knowledge Is Not Just For The Privileged Few
Access to learning is now open to everyone with an internet connection. Institutions have recognized this and the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) like EdX and Coursera has been huge over the last 10 years. Now, you can take courses from the likes of Harvard, MIT and the London School of Economics with no qualifications, and no tuition fees.
Online learning of this nature is gaining traction as a valuable addition to a resume when it comes to employers.
#3 Research Is A Lot Easier
Researching and revising is now a lot easier, instead of spending hours in the library, combing through books, you can now turn to the internet. Over 90% of students questioned said that they use Google to help them with their assignments. As long as the information we’re getting is from a reputable source (and not just Wikipedia), then it is a great tool to find accurate information quickly.
#4 Improved Communication & Engagement
The flexibility of blended learning means that students can communicate with their teachers and peers much more easily. If you’re absent from the classroom, you can catch up with the resources online or talk with your classmates about assignments.
By not being so focused in a classroom environment, it gives the opportunity for those people who have a different learning style, a chance to still be involved and not fall behind others. Similarly, if someone is suffering from health problems or cannot keep to a structured timetable, then they are still able to engage with the materials and other students and not be isolated.
The internet’s role in education is not without its pitfalls. For example, when it comes to book based research skills, or learning a topic in-depth rather than in bite-sized pieces on a web page. It has, however, overwhelmingly change the opportunities to learn and the ways in which we can access knowledge forever, and that can only be a good thing.