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On-Line Educational Experences 
From in-class to on-line and at-the-fort, I have taught in many places, and under many circumstances.

Reviewing the results of decades of in-class consulting as well as on-line educational engagements with a prospective client recently allowed me to neuron-together a few interesting insights. I thought I would share them with you:


When comparing the quality of education received on-line with a traditional classroom it is true that - while classroom teaching is our classic model (and therefore understood by more people,) that on-line education requires allot more lower level, hands-on content. Why? Because impersonalized presentations simply cannot engage people long enough to keep an average student's attention!

Yet the demand to create allot of exercises to keep students engaged creates a classic case of a "top down," versus that "bottom up" approach... or perhaps a College, versus a Middle-School educational experience? (i.e. holding a student's attention for an average of 1 minute for every year-in life?)

Surely creating on-line versus in-person education also requires understanding that on-line students are usually allot more interested in a "how to," rather than the often-equally as-important "when to" and / or "why to." --Yet I believe that the problem lies with the delivery media. The problem seems to be engaging each student at a level that only an in-classroom educator seems able to achieve?

Simple Case Study

The USMC - for example - tried to save allot of money by not flying teachers out to students. Yet after less than a year of telling their students to "learn it all on-line," up-front & personal, instructor-lead classroom training is not only back, but it is becoming more popular than ever before.

Why? One reason is - when it comes to being taught - that people need an opportunity to participate, as well as to be mentored in terms that can be related to their problem domains. So while I "talk geek" on my Udemy training, I "talk financial" when teaching at financial companies, "talk military" when teaching at the DoD, and therefore turn on as many light-bulbs - as well as encourage as much classroom participation - as humanly possible.

Certainly those critiquing their own experience when comparing an on-line versus an in-room training experience may often discover that the mere potential of asking - or being asked - to participate if and of itself often encourages one to be more attentive & alert.

The "D Word"

So it is teaching on-line that tends to be the "knowledge dump" these days. Indeed, until 'chatbots get allot better ("Alexa, teach me Python"?) today one simply cannot mentor - let alone engage any student properly - en masse.

Hence the challenge with creating 5-star on-line education is to teach "knowledge," (a hands-on activity every 5 minutes is a good metric!) versus imparting "wisdom." Showing on-line students - whose attention spans are ALLOT less engaged - not only "how to," but also ramping-up to present those top-down / higher-educational concepts ... via a series of hands-on exercises ... every few minutes?!

Big changes, to be sure!

Interactive Video

Even when teaching students on-line and in real-time (WebEx etc,) allow me to observe that remote-only educational opportunities universally ignore the fact that the best educational experiences invariably connect with people in more ways than on-line educational experiences are presently able to provide. Without the ability to walk around & read the body language of each student, how can any instructor know if their message is even being received?

So perhaps in education - just as everywhere else - one truly tends to get no more than what one pays for?


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