What is it that makes online learning so different from a traditional book or the face-to-face learning we enjoy with our tutors and classmates? While I conduct my current role as the teacher responsible for student support with the new BLC Anytime! online learning platform, I am given plenty of opportunities to reflect on this question. It seems to me that there are important differences and that these differences reflect the value of online learning. In using online learning, we are not just learning English, we are also improving our abilities to engage with any course provided online - this is something which is essential in today's learning contexts (including English language schools and colleges, universities, professional and vocational education courses).
In addition, learning online provides access to more than one publisher, more than one document, more than one collection of materials quickly and in a way that is more accessible and often far less costly than previously available. One key element of teaching using online technologies is how to encourage learners to become familiar with working with others online and managing expectations around this.
Of course, as with all teaching and learning processes, it doesn't always go to plan. Some people feel more or less confident with technology, technology doesn't always remain stable in its operation, and some people do not get the same sense of value from a screen as they get from face-to-face contact with others. That's why at BLC, and especially in my role as student support for BLC Anytime!, it is so important to provide training and guidance to students and others. It is about helping people use online learning as part of the learning experience, not necessarily replacing the other highly effective and enjoyable ways we learn a language that do not involve a computer.
- Steven Peters, BLC Teacher & BLC Anytime Support Officer 2014
To find out more about BLC Anytime and how it can supplement your English studies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.