Online learning is nothing new. Colleges and universities provide online programs that enable working adults to take classes. Professional development and classes for re-certifications are offered via online means. Homeschooled K-12 students utilize numerous online programs to obtain specialized instruction and build connections. What is new is the scope of online learning--the sheer number of people participating in online education is historic.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has been focused on increasing the scope and effectiveness of online learning for a number of years. In fact, Enterprise Digital Modernization Learning reform started in 2018 to improve how DoD purchases and maintains its digital learning software and services, while modernizing systems. The DoD has been working on a consolidated course catalog that makes it easier to search for available courses across the vast DoD enterprise.
The Air Force is coordinating its education online with the planned launch of a digital university. The initial emphasis will be on training front-line IT and cybersecurity workers to enhance their professional knowledge. Similarly, GSA is launching its own online "university" to better develop and train the acquisition workforce. Both instances address the need for accessible education that prepares the federal workforce for rapidly changing environments.
There are a number of events and resources available to help navigate the options and trends available in online learning.
- EdgeCon 2021 (January 6-8, 2021; virtual) - Join leaders from Higher Education, K-12, and Government and Healthcare organizations to discuss technology breakthroughs and best practices. Topics include education technology, cybersecurity, enterprise integration, and more.
- 2021 Association of American Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting (January 20-23, 2021; virtual) - This event will bring together campus leaders at all levels and from institutions of all types to explore the most pressing questions now facing higher education, to share effective educational practices and explore new financial models, and to work out together what undergraduate education will look like in a post-pandemic future.
- Future of Education Technology Conference (January 26-29, 2021; online) - Attendees will learn from top experts and innovators in education technologies while experiencing AI-based networking. The conference will provide insights, resources, and training to be successful in navigating the "new normal."
- Opportunity Thrives with High Quality Digital Curriculum (white paper) -- Personalized learning shifts the education approach from a teacher-driven model, which delivers the same lesson to every student, to a student-centered model. Learn how to effectively use technology tools to create effective personalized learning.
- Rethinking Higher Education (white paper) - Despite the overwhelming emphasis that the United States has placed on a traditional four-year college degree, the return on investment of such degrees has been shrinking since the 1970s. This paper explores options for expanding alternatives to post-high school education.
We'd love to hear your experiences with online learning. Let us know what events you're attending in the comments.
Be sure to check out GovEvents for a complete listing of conferences, virtual events, webinars, and a library of on-demand resources.