Online Vocational Education Trends, Review, Companies
Online Vocational Education - User Value Propositions
Classroom style Videos dominate
Video tutorials with transcript, commentaries, exercises, etc. attached are common
Personalized Learning Paths
Just-in-Time to fix doubts - QnA: Khan Academy, Stackoverflow
Nuggets of Problem Solutions
Online Vocational Education - Key Features
Mobile Apps, Downloaded Media, Learn on the Run
Just like YouTube or Spotify, now the expectation is to keep the learning going on the run, during commutes, etc.
But traditional video oriented sites usually have apps with poorer UX than the main web (like Lynda)
Community: Coaching - Per Course
Some like Lynda have no user forum, so little opportunity to engage with other students or discuss the learning material.
Discussion among students like Piazza and Blackboard have been tried but often don't get used much, unless forced by the instructor eg by awarding participation points, or restricting tutoring through forums.
Community: Wearer of the Shoe - Learning Trust, Pay it forward
Programming has many niches and corner cases that the authors of product don't get right or document. If you hit a problem then it is highly likely that many other users will hit that too. Stackoverflow, and QnA sites help you move forward.
Instead of getting a recommendation from a single dev, you get recommendation from the entire programming community.
Videos: Short form work far better
Coursera and EdX among others have discovered that smaller courses with a few dozens of short videos ~5' to 10'.
Codeacademy doesn't overwhelm beginners with information. It gives bite-sized information, the bare minimum needed to finish a task and get to the next one. As the course progresses, it slowly fills in background information.
- It is easier for distributed content creation at convenience of distributed teachers.
- However even a minimal "production studio" allows far better video production quality esp. sound and lighting.
- Multiple cameras are vital to focus on the text material while also showing the face of the instructor.
Engaging teaching style and Speech standards differ greatly
- The instructors like many professors vary greatly in their expression, speech clarity and preparation. To be fair, speaking into a camera lens is far less interesting or stimulating than teaching a class of engaged live students.
The best online instructors often use humor while letting their passion for the topic make it more engaging.
PSets - Nailing the Learning, Confidence
HowTo, Mastery and Confidence
- Quizzes, tests and assignments to help practice and retain the presented information are helpful.
Certifications use these as props to "assess" and award certificates.
Interactivity is vital and Codeacademy does right from the start, users write code. They start small in an environment that has constant feedback and gradually progress to more complex concepts. Users can see code results instantly, giving great feedback.
Online Vocational Education Trends, Key Factors, BM$
Student Retention Problem: Very rapid falloff with
- "Free" classes mean people don't take them seriously.
Broad vs Deep
- Top learning sites often have huge banks of content and assesments
- Lynda ~4000 courses, lots of languages
Levels : Beginners, Refresh, Mastery/BPR, Topics, Intermediate, Advanced
Usual online education courses and their content is aimed at people just starting to learn ie for beginners.
So a common negative of nearly all sites are - they are a bit too basic - there is not a lot of advanced content.
- This sometimes turns off busy professionals who want to develop specific job skills to boost their capabilities.
- But then improving on-the job skills if you want to use to refresh your knowledge the lessons are not designed to be quickly done.
Self-Paced vs Timed "Classrooms"
Nice filters, Search
- When you have thousands of courses
- Free, Video, Book, Beginner, Advanced, etc.
BM$ Pulling or moving popular free courses to paid
- eg Codeacademy's popular PHP course was removed from the site, and others moved to paid.