Getting Online: The GO Project

 

Overview of Online Learning

Technologies and Methods

Canadian literacy organizations and organizations from the broader education sector are choosing a wide variety of online learning technologies and methods to deliver training and education.

In the GO research, this trend was clearly evidenced by the fact that research respondents were using a range of methods and technologies to deliver their online training. Popular methods of offering online training include:

  • Self-study modules (like the GO online learning modules)
  • Learning management systems (i.e. Blackboard, Desire2Learn, etc.)
  • Online meeting or conference software (e.g., WebEx, Centra, Elluminate, First Class)
  • Blended learning using a combination of online and face-to-face learning
  • Blended learning using a variety of online approaches
  • Web 2.0 technology (YouTube, podcasts, wikis, blogs, etc.)

Less commonly used but also mentioned were discussion boards and listservs. For more information about specific online learning technology, be sure to refer to the Technology module on this website where we explore many of the most commonly-used learning platforms and software in detail.

Organizations chose their particular online learning technology based on their organizational capacity, to meet identified participant needs or for financial reasons. For example, the relative low cost of providing self-study web-based modules lead many smaller organizations to choose this option. Larger organizations such as colleges and universities were more likely to choose learning management systems such as Blackboard or Desire2Learn. Moodle, a free-to-use learning management system, was also a popular choice for a wide variety of organizations. Some organizations were thinking about changing their current way of offering online learning because of the options offered by many of the new technologies, particularly Web 2.0.

Online learning was often delivered in a "blended" fashion. "Blended learning" can refer to a combination of online and face-to-face training or to a combination of two or more online learning approaches. For example, an online course could be offered by combining a synchronous (live) session with a series of asynchronous (log in at your convenience) modules. For an interesting video presentation about blended learning in the workplace, be sure to watch Drooling to Learn – Blended Learning.

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