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digital education

Is Distance Learning the Future of Education?

We live in a world that is constantly changing. Nothing today seems to be the same as ten years ago. Education is not excluded from this. But where is education headed? I think the direction is obvious: digital and distance.

Let’s make a distinction between the two, quickly. While Hands-On Labs is digital and distance learning, not all digital education is distance, and not all distance education is digital. For example, before the summer of 2016, HOL was only distance. We didn’t have a digital platform that assisted in student learning, but instead packaged our kits with documents and PDFs. On the flip side, there are plenty of ways in which physical classrooms incorporate digital elements into their teaching. This is sometimes called “digital technology in the classroom (DTC)”.

While it is possible to have distance learning without digital, I think it is needless to say that the most effective distance education programs will be incorporated into the digital landscape. So even if there is a difference between digital and distance, we should visualize distance as also meaning digital. However, not all digital has to be distance.

With this, will distance learning be the future of education?

To answer this question, we should think about who distance learning benefits the most:

  1. Non-traditional students
  2. Younger students
  3. Students on a tight budget

For non-traditional students, the benefits speak for themselves. Attending and going through a traditional college education is incredibly time consuming, and time is something many non-traditional students don’t have. Whether it is because they have a family, a job, etc., distance learning caters to the schedule of the non-traditional student. According to Jenny Jopling, the President of the U.S. Distance Learning Association, “the non-traditional student population has exploded through distance learning.”

For younger students, digital atmospheres are something they know best. As Tyler Wantulok from Pine Cove Consulting puts it, students demand technology in education and younger students are digital natives. People reaching college age today don’t personally remember a world without smartphones, and their expectations are highly digital!

For students on a tight budget, distance learning provides a more affordable option. While some digital education materials can cost close to physical courses, there are a lot of hidden costs in traditional education: room and board within a college town, meal plans, traveling to campus, etc. Digital education eliminates all that needless cost!

Finally, to understand the future of education, we should take a brief look at the recent past of education. Has distance education been growing? Luckily for us, the Babson Survey Research Group has performed phenomenal research in this area in their online learning survey.

student working on computer

According to Babson Survey Research Group’s survey, the percentage of students that are enrolled in some distance education has increased by 3.4% between 2012 and 2016. ‘Some distance education’ meaning the students are enrolled in a mix of traditional courses and distance education courses. According to the same survey, the percentage of students that are enrolled in entirely distance education has increased by 2.3% between 2012 and 2016. Overall, there has been an increase in the usage of distance learning by 5.7% between 2012 and 2016.

In raw number, including both graduate and undergraduate students, there has been an increase of 933,715 students taking distance education courses between 2012 and 2016. In 2016, there was a total of 6,359,121 students that were enrolled in some kind of distance education! Of these students, 68.9% were enrolled in a public institution.

Looking at these numbers, distance education is quite significant in education as a whole, however there is a lot of progress to be made if it will truly be the “future of education”, as traditional students still make up a massive majority in college education.

While there is progress to be made, Clayton Christenson, a professor at Harvard Business School, believes that in the next ten to fifteen years nearly half of American universities will close or go bankrupt due to online education. However, if colleges keep up with the changing winds, they can survive. In the end, only time will tell. The education market is incredibly complicated, and many factors will play into what it looks like in a decade.

HOL exhibited and presented two workshops at the HAPS 29th Annual Conference in San Antonio

HAPS 2015 a Huge Success

HOL exhibited and presented two workshops at the HAPS 29th Annual Conference in San Antonio. 

Beyond the Hype: Three Types of “Must-Have” Data

New technologies are all the rage. Today’s tools claim to drive retention and student engagement. But are we getting the data we need? How can data truly ignite actions that improve educational effectiveness? This workshop will help educators work smarter, not harder by teaching them how to get the three types of data they need to track student knowledge gain, apply actionable analytics in the A&P classroom, and predict trends in a larger population of students. We’ll cover all the basics, from generating quantifiable learning objectives to analyzing student performance. Come ready to proof out your best teaching practices!

Avoiding CATastrophe: Distance Labs that Rock

Science in the distance classroom is often belittled, frowned upon, and outright argued against. “How could we ever create an online lab course better than the traditional classroom?!” Join this workshop for a lively discussion about ways that distance labs trump traditional labs. Leave prepared to convince your skeptical colleagues. The conversation will be modeled around cat dissections, and we’ll cover: (1) Learning Anytime, Anywhere, (2) The Un-Diluted Experience, (3) Lengthy Activities, (4) Having it All in One Place.


2015 Human Anatomy & Physiology Society Conference

 

Online Science Educator Certification Course

IEDSE Launches Course for Online Science Educators

DENVER, CO: The Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education (IEDSE) has announced the launch the Online Science Educator Certification Course (OSE). The OSE Course prepares instructors to teach online science courses with innovative, inquiry-based pedagogies.

“The OSE Course is a unique opportunity for all instructors considering breaking into a career in online education, or for all seasoned educators who want to improve their online teaching skills,” said Maggie Gaddis, OSE course facilitator. “It is designed with connectivism in mind, a new learning theory that promotes higher order thinking by creating a learning culture in which the students and the educator seek knowledge together.”

The course is being offered as an eight-week asynchronous online class, designed to accommodate the schedules of busy professionals. The first start date is March 15, 2015. The course has defined start dates and end dates, but there is no appointed time or day to be online. Participants determine the schedule and pace that is right for them. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit www.sciencecourseforeducators.com.

Hands-On Learning is a platinum sponsor of the OSE Course and offers $500 scholarships to qualified candidates. To apply for a scholarship, visit http://holscience.com/scholarship.

About IEDSE
The Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education is a 501c3, tax-exempt, non-profit science education foundation with a mission to promote science literacy in conjunction with today’s distance education delivery methods. IEDSE serves distance education students by training and assisting teachers in best practices and proven methods of effectively teaching laboratory science courses online. IEDSE creates and provides comprehensive professional development programs and supportive resources for secondary and post-secondary science educators. For additional information, visit www.iedse.org.

Hands-On Learning earns Quality Matters certification

Hands-On Learning Earns Quality Matters Certification

Hands-On Learning (HOL) is pleased to announce it has earned the first and only science lab content certification by Quality Matters (QM). HOL is a distance learning technology and consulting company providing innovative STEM solutions to align higher education with private industry for effective workforce development. HOL delivers the only product on the market that combines a cloud-based learning platform, modern teaching theories and the essential hands-on science component to build STEM competencies in higher education and today’s workforce.

A leader in quality assurance for online education, QM has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning.  QM’s rigorous standards evaluate diversity in student assessments, comprehensiveness in instructional materials, amount and quality of student engagement and intuitive, accessible technology.

“We’re honored to be recognized as the industry leader by a well-respected authority in the field,”said John Miller, Chief Operating Officer at HOL.“HOL’s distance learning solutions provide higher education institutions the opportunity to provide today’s generation with the hands-on experience and skills required to best develop the workforce.”

HOL’s industry-recognized model is built upon the principle of blending hands-on experimentation with cutting-edge technology to yield a powerful yet flexible educational experience. To meet the increasingly diverse needs of institutions, HOL offers three product lines with more than 500 lab experiences covering all major science disciplines. Each product line allows the experience to be tailored to students and instructors, and features laboratory-grade equipment and materials for a hands-on learning environment. All coursework is guided by well-defined learning objectives that follow a Bloom’s taxonomy progression, assisting with student development of higher order thinking skills. The cloud-based digital learning platform provides for anywhere, anytime learning, allowing for higher education institutions to reach more students and provide superior instruction.

LabBridge Solutions, HOL’s premier solution set, boosts instructor and student interaction via rich, engaging technology. The product’s digital features also provide meaningful analytics, empowering instructors to instantaneously deliver content and track progress. LabPaq, HOL’s deluxe solution set, delivers a customizable curriculum with the flexibility to configure a set of experiments to meet course-level learning objectives. STEMpaq, HOL’s most recent addition, serves as the solution for the economically minded institution, satisfying the fundamental laboratory competencies required for general education.

Click here for a printable copy.
Hands-On Learning News

Hands-On Learning Expands Executive Team

Hands-On Learning is pleased to announce Kevin Melendy as President and CEO, and John Miller as Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer. Melendy, with a track record of more than 25 years of transforming technology organizations, and Miller, a serial technology entrepreneur, have combined efforts to address and solve the current experience gap between the STEM workforce and needs of industry. Melendy and Miller were drawn to Hands-On Learning for its unique approach to solving this problem in today’s STEM workforce through innovative distance learning solutions and consulting services. Hands-On Learning is a distance learning technology and consulting company providing innovative STEM solutions to align higher education and private industry for effective workforce development.

“Joining an organization like Hands-On Learning is invigorating. Everyday we’re taking a major problem in this country and advancing real solutions to impact change,” said Kevin Melendy. “The United States has made significant progress in addressing the STEM challenge at the K-12 level. However, we’re targeting an entire generation that, despite its potential to effect change immediately, has been largely overlooked: today’s generation.”

As President and Chief Executive Officer, Melendy is building long-term business strategies that focus on Hands-On Learning’s core competencies to drive business. Melendy is poised to serve as a leading agent of change for Hands-On Labs relative to corporate culture and product development and is developing the personnel resources necessary to fulfill the company’s vision and empower employees to act as change agents. Prior to joining Hands-On Learning, Melendy served as CEO at Spectral Response, helping to transform the company from a struggling family-owned business to a leading competitor in its market.

Serving as Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner, Miller leads Hands-On Learning’s consulting arm, HOL Consulting Services, working to align private industry and higher education institutions to prepare students for STEM-discipline careers. Miller utilizes more than 14 years of experience serving 700 universities and hundreds of thousands of student experiences in distance learning to advance Hands-On Learning’s initiatives. He founded and led three successful Silicon Valley technology ventures – two M&As and one IPO – with successful outcomes.

“My concern lies in how the United States can differentiate in the world economy. With innovation as the hallmark of our nation’s success, we must take considerable steps to address the gap in STEM workforce competency,” said John Miller. “Hands-On Learning tackles this issue head on by pairing the STEM industry with higher education institutions to improve competency-based learning and deliver it in a way that is unhindered by time, place or education level.”

Click here for a printable version of the story.