The Chronicle Of Higher Education has a special report on virtual learning titled “Virtual Learning Goes Mainstream” which [so far] covers topics such as cost, convenience, pedagogy and profitability [not in the sense that it has been covered here or on The Bava, however]. While there is plenty of information to consume and consider in all of the separate articles, the lead sums things up quite nicely:
Will the classroom of the future be a virtual one, a face-to-face one, or a hybrid of the two? Yes to all of those.
The most important part in considering this, and what makes the statement from The Chron true, is the applicability of of virtual learning in a given area at a given point in time.
The evolution of virtual education over the past 70 years has taken us from broadcasting courses on television to the simple CMS [the first “online courses” pre-ARPANET] to the completely mobile and virtual learning environments available today.
While the tools come and go [or were never fully utilized in the first place], it’s important to remember that as they evolve, their applicability changes as well. While it may have been unthinkable to teach a given subject in a virtual environment as little as 5 years ago, it is completely possible today. However, tool availability does not mean they are effective in practice. Nor are all tools equally effective for all students.