Evolution of Online Learning

  • Early 1930's

    In the education community, the University of Iowa was the first to own its educational station for broadcasting “telecourses” in 1934 (Portway & Lane, 1994). The earliest studies on the function of television in the learning process considered it as an “extension of the classroom” only, merely a tool used for carrying and transmitting knowledge (Portway & Lane, 1994).
  • 1960's

    Telecommunication technology gradually became more available and affordable to certain groups in the community from around the 1960s. Institutions gradually then extended their teaching target further to the general public. Other broadcasting stations, such as the APBS, also acknowledged adult learning as one of their chief targets, to fully utilize the developed cable system for public education
  • 1980's-1990's

    Learning gradually emerged and learning contents gradually got digitized. From the 1980s to the 1990s, open education employed a mixed-media approach. The implementation of satellite TV made the distribution of information more rapid, reaching the farthest places in the USA (Casey, 2008). At the same time, computers were slowly being used at home along with the emergence of the World Wide Web (the Internet) and high-speed broadband transmission.
  • Early 2000's

    The computer-mediated communication promoted collaboration between students within the same program and this technology also supported the development of a learning community between the students and the faculty. This last feature became more prominent when high-bandwidth computer technologies were developed in a later generation, enabling videoconferences between the teacher and the student.
  • 2005

    The availability of packaged disks and CDs speeded up the dissemination and storage of multimedia teaching materials, allowing a wider range of teaching strategies. Towards the turn of the century, high bandwidth transmission and videoconferences via the Internet became increasingly feasible in urban areas around the globe.
    Li, K. C. (2018). The evolution of open learning: A review of the
    transition from pre-e-learning to the era of e-learning. Knowledge
    Management & E-Learning, 10(4), 408–425
  • 2008

    The birth of the first massive open online course (MOOC) in 2008 and then the development of MOOCs at an exponential rate brought open learning swiftly into a new era. MOOCs are mainly offered as courses for open learning and are mostly presented by conventional institutions. (Clarke, 2013)
  • 2011

    Video Conferencing-- By default, the learners could receive immediate feedback, which cultivated their sensitivity towards the authentic problems, and thus their active engagement in critical thinking and dialogue for learning. Therefore, the open learning experience was no longer a one-way practice, but more of a collaborative effort, in which both the teachers and students improved the practical and theoretical notion of education.
  • 2013

    Social media, such as blogs, YouTube, and Facebook--To a great extent, teaching institutions are now able to tailor “personal learning environments (PLE)” for a broad range of learners at the same time. One major characteristic of the students active in the synchronous interactive e learning era is that they are tech-savvy, being “fluent in multiple media and in simulation-based virtual settings” (Clarke, 2013)
  • 2018

    Online courses are becoming more prevalent. By this time, in addition to standard courses there are also full online courses or "hybrid method" options available to most students depending on the Institution/ program
  • 2020

    March 2020- The country and most of the world goes into a complete shut down. citizens are ordered to stay home unless deemed "essential." Because of this, all learning- of all grades- was mandatory "remote"- meaning all curriculum and course work needed to be facilitated and completed electronically. At this point, only higher education and some high schools had experience with this. Majority of K-12 did not, and many felt as if they were "building the plane as they were flying it"
  • 2022

    Nearly 2 years after the COVID-19 pandemic, the world seems to be heading in a more "normal" direction. Companies that required employees to work from home have either mandated them to return, or have made decisions to permanently keep them remote. School systems have returned in person, but now have the valued experience of how to facilitate courses remotely if necessary.