Friday, March 03, 2006

Social Aspects of On-line Learning

On-line education is said to have a deficiency. Learning is supposed to take place in community according to many within academia. There is a great deal of truth about that. We do often learn best with others. However, being self taught on a matter is about the only way to gain true competence. The road to the top is often lonely. That aside, the idea that learning at a brick and mortar institution is more social than learning on line is tantamount to saying friendships developed on-line are not friendships at all. On-line friendships are developed much like the ones that are face to face. People come and go as they do in face to face relationships. Some people you connect with, while others you don't. Some people will be life long friends on-line because they are your friend. Higher education rather than dismiss the social aspect of on-line learning, should understand how friendships are formed on-line and use that in the education process. Understanding the differences between on-line friendships and face to face friendships might make a good thesis for some masters student in sociology. That kind of research could be used to expand the social component of learn for those who do on-line learning.
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