Online Education: Its Value
There are so many questions that are raised by the people at the threshold of this new era of education. However, it appears that among education experts the debate is already over in the favor of online education. The reason is that educationists preferred constructivism over behaviorism as philosophy of education. And there is no wonder in it that people automatically associate online education with constructivism. Every concept related to online education, the whole idea of online education, is actually based on constructivist understanding.
This concept of learning necessitates that there be mixed ability and mixed aged groups. For proper learning takes place in those situations in which one learn through interaction with elders and more capable people.
Constructivism says that learning is a social activity, and it is most efficiently acquired in a less formal, mixed ability group. Furthermore, constructivism also suggests that learning takes place in one's zone of proximal development, through peer intervention.
What is this zone of proximal development or zpd? Zpd is a concept that signifies that learning takes place when one attempts to learn those things which one can learn with the help of his or her more able peers. If a learner already knows something, then one cannot call it learning to learn these things again. If there is some content which a person cannot learn; neither through his own effort, nor through the help of those who know that content, then its teaching is a waste of time. So the only content that a person can learn is that which falls within his zone of proximal development; the content which one can learn with the help of others, through interaction.
Since online education, unlike traditional schools, forms mixed age group classes therefore; it is very likely that the interaction between students will be of more value. Students, besides their course requirements, will learn so many other things from the experiences of their seniors.