Online Training vs. Online Education

 

If you are a fan of what is called “online education,” you might want to read the piece my friend Cliff Orwin published today in Toronto’s Globe and Mail. The key to understanding his contention that online and education are terms that do not belong together is the fact that he distinguishes education from training: “By ‘education,'” he writes,

I don’t mean training or even mere instruction. Widget-making (however complex the widget) may well be teachable online. By education I mean formation of the whole person, to which the humanities have traditionally aspired – as have the natural and social sciences in their noblest conceptions of themselves.

Orwin does not deny that an electronic component can be useful. He recognizes that viewing a lecture on a screen from afar at one’s leisure can be an advantage. But he insists that something of great importance will always be missing.

The New York Times of July 19 contained an excellent column by the University of Virginia’s Mark Edmundson. He explained why teaching requires the physical presence of the students. Prof. Edmundson likens good teaching to jazz. It is inherently responsive and improvisational. You revise your presentation as it goes, incorporating the students’ evolving reception of it. In response to their response, as individuals and as a group, you devise new variations on your theme. You don’t address students in the abstract or as some anonymous throng scattered throughout cyberspace. You always teach these students, in this room, at this time.

So it matters to me to know who my students are, to know their faces and names, to see how they dress and what they’re reading. I need to talk to them before and after class and listen to what they’re saying among themselves. Above all, it’s crucial for me to hear their voices as they answer my questions and ask their own, to heed their inflections and mark the expressions on their faces. In my large introductory course, I devote a third of the time to discussion. That’s not just so the students can probe me, but so I can probe them.

It’s equally important to the students that I’m there. They need a real person with whom to engage. Someone to interrogate. Someone to persuade them. Someone to resist. Someone with whom they can identify or refuse to identify. Because education addresses the whole person, it requires a real person to model it. It matters to the students not just to hear what I say but to hear the voice in which I say it – the hesitations as well as the certainties. They need an example of someone who, like them, is learning as he goes along – but just happens to be further along than they are.

Live education is expensive, you say? The best things in life tend to be.

What Orwin is arguing for here is, of course, a liberal education, and he knows perfectly well that such an education is not suitable for everyone. But I think that, within the limits he sets, his argument is sound.

The most important course I ever took was a seminar taught on Plato’s Republic at Cornell in 1968/69 by Allan Bloom. I vigorously resisted his argument; I fought against him both terms; and, in part for that reason, he was never especially fond of me. But the exchanges we had nonetheless changed my life. I fought him until he persuaded me, and those exchanges inspired me to do a great deal of reading in subsequent years as I struggled to understand through the lens of certain great books what was going on all around me.

There was  an electricity in that seminar that I have always tried to replicate in my classes. My aim is to provoke and to inspire — to get the students to interrogate the texts that they are reading and to think. And when I succeed, as I sometimes do, they force me to rethink — for, if they get drawn in, they either resist my interpretation or press it further than I have.

The same thing can happen as a consequence of a lecture. Most often, things come alive when I open things up for questions. Sometimes I learn things I did not know. At other times I have to think on my feet — and when I do I learn things that I would not otherwise learn. Online education cannot be much more than a pale shadow of the education that takes place in a seminar or when questions are posed.

Training may well be another matter. A video can help me see how to put a bike together. A video can teach me the rules of poker (especially if I can watch it twice). An online lecture can help me understand Hamlet. But it is not a substitute for what goes on in a seminar on Hamlet. Some things cannot be done on the cheap, alas.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Trace Urdan: The argument proffered supposes that every classroom experience meets its Socratic ideal which we all know from first-hand experience, is absurd. It also assumes that every student seeking a degree is 18-22 and attending full-time — also false. Finally it ignores the hazy middle ground where most online degrees live between the bike assembly you so condescendingly suggest and the study of Plato.  · 38 minutes ago

    Trace, you seem to be very, very angry, and your anger stands in the way of understanding. I assumed none of these things. I merely argued, as did Cliff Orwin, that classroom instruction, involving lectures and give-and-take or seminars dominated by give-and-take, make something possible that cannot be duplicated in online courses. I made no assumption about the age of students, and I was not speaking in a condescending fashion when I spoke of putting together a bicycle.

    Let me add that I wrote of getting a liberal education. You seem to be focused on gaining a credential (a degree). You can easily secure the latter without getting the former.

    • #31
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    @CrowsNest
    Guruforhire: The use of video teleconferencing and various other forms of collaborative technologies, is widely used in the corporate space to solve this very problem, and is starting to gain traction for syncronous participatory education. 

    But this observation is just re-emphasizing the original point Prof. Orwin makes about intimacy.

    The very fact that this technology has been invented and put to this purpose is at least in part due to the fact that people sense that there is a difference between distance and intimacy, between fragmentation and community. They recognize that not being able to see each other’s face makes the work more difficult.

    The technology is quite useful, no doubt (having been to my fair share of VTCs……). But it is, at best, a second-best solution. It would be better to be there in person, but when we can’t be, we Skype, or we Teleconference.

    Have you never been to a concert or church service and seen something done live that transcended the experience of merely listening at home?

    • #32
  3. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Trace Urdan: Most online degree instruction is in areas that are pre-professional or professional. Is the study of business a worthy academic pursuit? It involves a lot of skill instruction but also demands a regionally-accredited degree to be considered legitimate. It is handled very effectively online despite the fact that the instructor can’t see what the students are wearing.

    What about the registered nurse who needs to complete he BA in order to be promoted into a management position at her hospital? Does her professor need to know what’s on her iPod in order to teach her about the time value of money?

    Just as you are so supremely confident that the President will lose in a landslide Professor! I am equally sure that online degrees are here to stay.  · 46 minutes ago

    The examples you cite prove my point. Preprofessional and professional study is training. It is not education. If you cannot discern the distinction, then you miss the point of my post entirely.

    The fact that online degrees are here to stay means nothing. Degrees are credentials. They are certifications that one has been trained to a certain level.

    • #33
  4. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Larry3435: I’m sorry Professor, but an academic’s lament that the internet is ruining academia sounds to me very much like a reporter’s lament that that the internet is ruining newspapers.  Personally, I find that the quality of information I get today is vastly superior to what I used to get when I had to rely on newpapers.  And while I haven’t gotten any formal education on line, my memory of 4 years at UCLA is that most of my professors were abysmal (Thomas Sowell being a notable exception).  Oh, and I would much rather know how to put a bike together than listen to the grievance-mongering crap kids get taught in many university classes today.  Practical knowledge is also part of a well rounded education.

    · 47 minutes ago

    I did not say that the internet is ruining anything. My only point was that some very important things cannot be done at all well through online courses.

    Nor do I remember having denigrated practical knowledge. When I go to a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, or an engineer, I want someone well-trained.

    But being well-trained is not the same as being well-educated.

    • #34
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    @Guruforhire

    Not really.  I actually find anything that would fall into the “venue” catagory unpleasant, and makes me crabby.  We weren’t talking about a performance, but even those problems are mostly also a failure to have an appropriate technology solution behind it.

    We are talking about collaboration, which has its own set of challenges.  All of them are resolved by students that take their technology seriously, and an institution that takes their technology seriously.

    This is my preferred method of quibbling.

    • #35
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    @HangOn

    Well, this all boils down to definitions of “education” and “training” and the dilemma Orwin poses: “Still, don’t mistake what’s better than nothing for what’s best.” He never bothers to ask what’s good enough.

    Education is iterative. Training is single pass (or at least only a few passes required). To say that education can best be done live is a function of the person being educated and the educator. Many educators are going through the motions. Most students are too — get grade, get credits, get degree, get out of here. So I’m not sure for how many people the ideal applies.

    I think Donald Kagan is one of your ex-professors. He has a series on ancient Greece that is one of the best educational series I’ve ever seen on the web. I’ve listened to it numerous times and thoroughly enjoy it. Was he educating or training? I still don’t know how to be a hoplite so he couldn’t have been trying to train me to be that.

    • #36
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    @Larry3435
    Paul A. Rahe

    I did not say that the internet is ruining anything. My only point was that some very important things cannot be done at all well through online courses.

    Nor do I remember having denigrated practical knowledge. When I go to a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, or an engineer, I want someone well-trained.

    But being well-trained is not the same as being well-educated. · 13 minutes ago

    Perhaps “ruining” was the wrong word.  I was thinking of the typical journalist’s lament that the internet does not have “editors” and “fact checkers,” and therefore lacks the professionalism and accuracy of newspapers – an argument that anyone can debunk by even a casual inspection of the biased blather in the NY Times.

    Having attended law school, I have experienced more than most students of the intellectual give and take of the classroom.  That goes with the socratic method, and with the opportunity to discuss issues with some very smart people.  But I never got as much “education” (in the sense you mean) from any class as I did from reading Will Durant’s “Story of Philosophy,” and thinking about it.  Many other examples, but 200 words …

    • #37
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    @CrowsNest
    Guruforhire: We are talking about collaboration, which has its own set of challenges.  All of them are resolved by students that take their technology seriously, and an institution that takes their technology seriously.

    Fair enough that you don’t like public gatherings, I doubt anything I will say will be convincing to you there.

    On collaboration, however, I think you’ve collapsed too many things together under the heading of whether or not people can work together remotely. We all agree that collaboration is very important, and that people could work together at a distance.

    The disagreement is not with collaboration itself, it goes behind and above that. Prof. Orwin suggests that getting to know his students, inside and outside the classroom, is part of what makes a full education successful. Their ability to interact with him, that personal mentorship and friendship,  is one of the facets of education that takes place in person to no insignificant extent.

    • #38
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JohnRDC

    I’m one of the dumb ones, I guess, not one suitable for a liberal education, because I cannot figure out how to gain access to Ricochet on a sustained basis. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Oh, well . . .

    As to liberal education, Robert M. Hutchins and Mortimer Adler both argued strenuously, and to no avail, in the 50s that a revived liberal education was vital for all who vote, and without it, democracy would fail. Well, it’s failed (see, e.g., “The Myth of the Rational Voter,” by Bryan Caplan, “Watergate.” by Fred Emery, “This Time Is Different,” by Reinhart and Rogoff ), and so has liberal education. Moreover, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Google rules. 

    • #39
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    @Guruforhire
    Crow’s Nest

    Guruforhire: We are talking about collaboration, which has its own set of challenges.  All of them are resolved by students that take their technology seriously, and an institution that takes their technology seriously.

    Fair enough that you don’t like public gatherings, I doubt anything I will say will be convincing to you there.

    On collaboration, however, I think you’ve collapsed too many things together under the heading of whether or not people can work together remotely. We all agree that collaboration is very important, and that people could work together at a distance.

    The disagreement is not with collaboration itself, it goes behind and above that. Prof. Orwin suggests that getting to know his students, inside and outside the classroom, is part of what makes a full education successful. Their ability to interact with him, that personal mentorship and friendship,  is one of the facets of education that takes place in person to no insignificant extent. · 5 minutes ago

    I dispute that as well.  It is counter to my own life experiences.

    • #40
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Orwin may be right –I’m agnostic on the subject; I don’t think the evidence is all in –but his view is really irrelevant to the real situation. The NAS has documented that, at one of the world’s premier universities, you can’t get an education even when you and the professor show up in person.   See the link for the damning evidence. 

    http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/politics-education-and-more-politics-nass-new-report-on-the-university-of-california/32125

    The academic intelligencia has shot itself in the foot and it is only a matter of time before even the hoi polloi realize that if they want to be truly educated there are very few institutions in which that will happen. The vast majority of universities are good places to get training as an engineer or a doctor, but they are poor places in which to get educated. 

    • #41
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @donaldtodd

    When I worked as a systems engineer for ROLM Corporation, we’d collect information for use by systems engineers.  One item was a study by AT&T (competition in the customer telephone system market).  It was a brilliant study, covering hundreds of businesses of various sizes and their utilization of the telephone.  The breakdowns were business size, eg, number of users, and call volumes, divided into light, medium and heavy.

    The AT&T study was offered to the Electronics Industry Association but was not accepted.  That, I believe, was politics.

    The AT&T study undermined the AT&T practice in business.  The study indicated a significant reduction in costly circuits (central office trunks, DID trunks, etc) compared to what AT&T was doing in the field.  The PhDs who did the study and compiled the statistics did not have clue of what AT&T business practice was.

    I was trained using this information.  I used it against AT&T.  That is technical training.  It is wonderful and can be job saving.

    A lot of people would benefit from technical training to support their families.  Others from Solzhenitsyn and those like him.

    • #42
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    Guruforhire: I dispute that as well. It is counter to my own life experiences.

    I find that somewhat unfortunate. But, nevertheless, let’s put it this way: I like online training programs. They are great ready-references, they are a beneficial, cost effective, forward-looking, and skill-producing sector of the economy. Because of this, I think they will only continue to expand and prosper.I hope they will become widely used  in our credentialing process for professionals at many levels. 

    I just think there is something other than their benefits which they fail to capture and which doesn’t translate into their medium about the education received at the university.

    • #43
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    @Kofola

    I have experience teaching in the humanities both in a traditional lecture environment and online. In my experience the latter doesn’t hold a candle to the former.

    I’m at a loss to understand how people calling themselves conservatives would advocate for something hip and trendy at the expense of a basic methodology that has proven effective over millennia.

    Much has gone awry with our present day higher education system. However, virtual education is not a panacea for most of what ails it. If you think your detached, boring, hyper left-wing professor as an undergrad was bad in lecture, wait until you get him or her completely behind a virtual wall…

    I can speak personally that every negative I find in the present day university student, I found exacerbated in the online format. Reading discussion comments the majority of which read like they were plagiarized from the ESPN message boards got tiresome rather quickly.

    Our higher education system definitely needs much reform, and technology, as Dr. Rahe himself admitted, certainly has a place in it. However, let’s be careful not throw out the baby with the bathwater, destroying what still has value.

    • #44
  15. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Donald Todd: When I worked . . . , we’d collect information for use by systems engineers.  One item was a study by AT&T (competition in the customer telephone system market).  It was a brilliant study, covering hundreds of businesses of various sizes and their utilization of the telephone.  The breakdowns were business size, eg, number of users, and call volumes, divided into light, medium and heavy.

    The AT&T study was offered to the Electronics Industry Association but was not accepted.  That, I believe, was politics.

    The AT&T study undermined the AT&T practice in business.  The study indicated a significant reduction in costly circuits (central office trunks, DID trunks, etc) compared to what AT&T was doing in the field.  The PhDs who did the study and compiled the statistics did not have clue of what AT&T business practice was.

    I was trained using this information.  I used it against AT&T.  That is technical training.  It is wonderful and can be job saving.

    A lot of people would benefit from technical training to support their families.  Others from Solzhenitsyn and those like him. · 3 minutes ago

    Amen.

    • #45
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @Guruforhire
    Kofola: I have experience teaching in the humanities both in a traditional lecture environment and online. In my experience the latter doesn’t hold a candle to the former.

    I’m at a loss to understand how people calling themselves conservatives would advocate for a hip and trendy at the expense of a basic methodology that has proven effective over millennia.

    Much has gone awry with our present day higher education system. However, virtual education is not a panacea for most of what ails it. If you think your detached, boring, hyper left-wing professor as an undergrad was bad in lecture, wait until you get him or her completely behind a virtual wall…

    I can speak personally that every negative I find in the present day university student, I found exacerbated in the online format. Reading discussion comments the majority of which read like they were plagiarized from the ESPN message boards got tiresome rather quickly.

    Technology, as Dr. Rahe himself admitted, certainly has a place in our education/training system. However, let’s be careful not throw out the baby with the bathwater. · 0 minutes ago

    Luddism =/= Wisdom

    Conservatives are, in fact, allowed to differentiate between the two.

    • #46
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @donaldtodd

    42 continued.

    One could get the AT&T study (which is long obsolete in the current communications market) via the internet and not have a problem so long as someone able to interpret the data was available to walk you through it.

    The character training would hopefully have started at home at an early age.  One would see one’s parents doing the right thing for the right reason, and as a child could accept it, answering that child with the reasoning.

    It would be buttressed by what is taught in the church or synagogue, and by other organizations, such as the Boy Scouts.

    Athletic endeavors would find “sportsmanship” recognized.  

    Coarseness would be discouraged, ala the code of conduct at Richochet.

    If one is privileged to run into Aquinas or his kind, with a very good teacher in classroom setting, with questions encouraged, so much the better.

    That would be worth going back to school for.

    • #47
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @Guruforhire
    Crow’s Nest

    Guruforhire: I dispute that as well. It is counter to my own life experiences.

    I find that somewhat unfortunate. But, nevertheless, let’s put it this way: I like online training programs. They are great ready-references, they are a beneficial, cost effective, forward-looking, and skill-producing sector of the economy. Because of this, I think they will only continue to expand and prosper.I hope they will become widely used  in our credentialing process for professionals at many levels. 

    I just think there is something other than their benefits which they fail to capture and which doesn’t translate into their medium about the education received at the university. · 4 minutes ago

    I think it comes down to a taste preference as there is no practical difference.  We have here what is called subjective value, and we can have different tastes, and both be right.

    • #48
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Kofola
    Guruforhire

    Luddism =/= Wisdom

    Conservatives are, in fact, allowed to differentiate between the two. · 0 minutes ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    They’re also allowed to utilize prudence. You might benefit from reading some Russell Kirk.

    • #49
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    Donald Todd: The character training would hopefully have started at home at an early age.  One would see one’s parents doing the right thing for the right reason, and as a child could accept it, answering that child with the reasoning.

    It would be buttressed by what is taught in the church or synagogue, and by other organizations, such as the Boy Scouts.

    Athletic endeavors would find “sportsmanship” recognized.  

    Coarseness would be discouraged, ala the code of conduct at Richochet.

    If one is privileged to run into Aquinas or his kind, with a very good teacher in classroom setting, with questions encouraged, so much the better.

    Completely agree with you Donald. These institutions have a crucial role to play in an expansive view of what education is. None of them can be replaced by a classroom, but lack of experience with  them might impede the work being done in a classroom.

    Even still, as a kind of capstone and ornament which completes all of these vital activities, and as the peak from which one can see each its place and purpose, liberal education itself aids in this character formation process (any that be worthy of the name, that is).

    • #50
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @

    The training versus liberal education argument has been going on for decades, but now there is a new twist, the Internet.

    My MBA educated me the most because I had to show up every day, ready to give my opinion on a detailed case. We also discussed right to have a job, responsibility of a business to the community, is the air free or can a business pollute it, use if brainwashing in Vietnam and how to apply it to corporate culture, and the leaders in history and lessons to be used, Shakespeare and speeches to inspire, and so on. 

    The undergrad was good too but it is reliant in the professor and teaching assistant. Podcasts and videos could be used to boost intellectual understanding.

    Ricochet is an outstanding tool to learn about politics. I just saw a new iPhone App for profs. They get their students to get the app and then they can do a survey, quick question over the app to see if the students are getting the material. The students can also signal if they are confused or ask an online question. That prof in my pocket concept would add value.

    • #51
  22. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Astonishing
    Paul A. Rahe

    Skyler: . . .I need a credit in a subject for a degree, but I have to sit through Prof. Boring’s class to get it.  . . . Really, the only reason to prefer a brick house university over an online one is because of the entrenched interest of the university.

    As I said, liberal education is not suitable for everyone.

    Your answer is correct.

    But I might have tried to persuade Skyler not to be antagonistic to liberal education. In fact, he’s probably not really opposed to genuine liberal education because he’s never actually experienced it, and therefore cannot know what’s necessary for it.

    What offends him is the manner of “education” he received. If I had only his experience, I would agree with him.

    Pardon the crude analogy: it is as if to learn about love someone was sent only to prostitutes (some “good;” some not so good), and then arose the internet–cheaper, more efficient, easily customized to particular desires. The abused student of love thinks, “What need have I now of the company of actual fleshy human beings?”

    What’s needed first is to persuade such a person of the existence of true love.

    • #52
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    @CrowsNest

    Mark: You’re kind to say so, but I wish to re-emphasize that nothing I or others have said here is innovative. We have merely offered parts of the traditional defense of liberal education. However much it might be in disarray today, we are aware it has a long and proud history and a noble purpose. We humbly endeavor to see it bequeathed, and we look beyond the present moment toward the permanent necessity.

    The Prof. is more than able to defend and explain himself, but I offer this as food for thought: his health may have caused him to render this particular sentence with brevity; it is being read uncharitably if it is read as his only word on the subject. I do not think he intended to offend or give short-shrift to the applied sciences and arts with regard to the honor which they are due.

    • #53
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    @CharlesBreiling

    What I haven’t seen anyone here discuss is the role of choice, specifically the students’ choice.

    It’s not clear to me that any college or university is proposing to shutter classrooms in favor of online services (although I believe that’s coming when the “tuition bubble” bursts). So what we have with the availability of online services is an expanded array from which students can choose.

    university-of-phoenix.jpgMy wife has been studying MSIS at the University of Phoenix, while she was both pregnant, and shortly after the twins were born. She now frequently attends class with a baby in her lap, and has her primary work station in the nursery. The babies are now 7 months old, and she would never have been able to take these classes even if the campus were across the street from our house.

    She regularly “attends” class with a great variety of students (whose experience is very valuable in the discussion forums) mostly from all over the U.S. but some from China, France, and even a soldier on deployment overseas.

    I fully understand the argument that a live, in-person classroom is superior, but I’d argue online is more accessible.

    • #54
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @Guruforhire

    I will ask a leading question.

    What is your opinion of Clarence Thomas?

    • #55
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @Sabrdance

    I’ve taught on-line courses and in-person courses.  The in-person courses were better.  From the teaching side, it is difficult to teach to a microphone.  In a class you can interact with the students, try different approaches -as the essay linkes says, improvise.  When you can manage the socratic method, students can grasp the material far better than any on-line delivery.

    Education is a character building exercising, and part of that is modeling what an educated person looks, sounds, and acts like.  How does an educated person think about answering a question?  How do they present problems?  I’ve had at least one boss observe my class and say that my greatest asset is that I can tie questions from two students together with a third example from some other place to show students the ways that all this “general education” they get does come together into a kludge -and eventually that kludge becomes the well and fully examined life that Plato was always on about.

    The best on-line courses can mimic this a bit, but it requires tremendous effort from students on their own.  Most online students put in less effort, not more.

    • #56
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @DavidFoster

    Two thoughts:

    1)Prof. Edmundson likens good teaching to jazz. It is inherently responsive and improvisational. You revise your presentation as it goes, incorporating the students’ evolving reception of it. 

    This is true (it is true also of an effective sales presentation or internal corporate presentation, btw)….but what % of professors *actually* do this? 

    2)The jazzlike approach to teaching  can also be achieved on-line IF the group is small enough to permit and encourage interaction, just like a good blog discussion thread. Probably not as effective as in-person, all things being equal, but things are rarely equal. Maybe a well-run on-line course with an excellent professor would be better than an in-person course with a mediocre one.

    • #57
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    @Astonishing
    Skyler . . .  It is pure snobbery to say that anything except a pure liberal arts course of study or indoctrination is “training” rather than an education.

    Sometimes persons of less discernment will make repeated accusations of snobbery because they cannot distinguish better from worse. Confident of their own powers of discernment, they conclude that whoever makes a distinction where they see none must do so as a pretext for claiming superior understanding.

    We can argue about what really is better or worse. We can even argue about whose discernment really is superior. But the accusation of snobbery, the word itself, carries no weight.

    Similarly, we need not argue about whether the word “education” must be reserved for “liberal education.” What’s important is to discern the distinction between liberal education and activities that merely impart information and skills that are not liberal education.

    Some discern no difference, and discerning no difference, necessarily suppose liberal education can be carried on the same way as the merely information-imparting and skill-imparting activities.

    Others think they discern a difference, but think the difference is that “liberal education” is no education, or is bad education, and should not be carried on at all.

    • #58
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    @Larry3435

    Sabrdance, The choice is not between having a classroom audience and sitting at some solitary computer.  I watched Michael Sandel’s series of Harvard classroom lectures on PBS, all by my lonesome, and learned more than in almost any college class I attended in person.  A good teacher is a good teacher.  The nice thing about on-line or video classes is that the teachers can all be good, because they can reach so many more people nationwide.

    • #59
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    @NickStuart

    The difference between “education” and “training” be visualized by imagining the difference in your reaction between your 13 year old daughter coming home and saying “we had sex education in school today” vs. “we had sex training in school today.”

    Bloom’s taxonomy of learning objectives runs (from lower order to higher order):  knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation.

    The higher you go up the taxonomy (from knowledge to evaluation) the more difficult it becomes to construct truly meaningful computer-based education (whether it’s online or on a CD or whatever is immaterial unless there’s actual live synchronous interaction between the student and teacher).

    Ergo “blended learning”. You use computer-based for the objectives for which it lends itself. That offloads time from the “live” classroom events where you can use a greater portion of the time for things, like discussion and debate, that are almost impossible to do well in an “e” format.

    • #60
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