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Veletsianos on learning from home in a post-pandemic world
Learning technology expert Prof. George Veletsianos was featured in Maclean’s, discussing how learning from home may be a key part of post-pandemic education – and how course design makes the real difference in learning outcomes, rather than location.
Here is an excerpt:
“Studies that have been conducted comparing the two generally show that distance education is as effective as in-person education,” says George Veletsianos, a professor in the school of education and technology at Royal Roads University and Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology. Some studies find one or the other is better, he says, “but the meta-analyses have found outcomes between the two are generally the same. If there’s any sort of difference, it tends to favour blended courses.” (That is, classes that utilize both online and in-person elements.)
In fact, Veletsianos says, the success of any course, in-person or online, comes down to the way it’s designed, and that requires instructors to rethink how they teach and how they understand learning.
Students with disabilities may have difficulty accessing distance education, and students with family, social or economic disadvantages also tend to struggle in online learning environments. In Veletsianos’s new book, Learning Online: The Student Experience, he cites a 2014 study in The Journal of Higher Education that found “younger students, African-Americans, Latinos, males, students with lower levels of academic skill and part-time students are all likely to perform markedly worse in online courses than in traditional ones,” which implies online learning platforms “may also reflect and perpetuate a number of inequities.” But, Veletsianos says, “paying more attention to the circumstances and needs of individual students may offer recourse to this problem.”
This story appeared in Maclean’s.