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4 myths about online learning


With the ongoing pandemic restricting classroom-based, in-person delivery for the foreseeable future, this month has seen a number of universities publish guidance and research about online learning methods.

AU University, Canada’ online university published an article debunking some of the myths surrounding online learning. If you are considering undertaking an online course or are developing a course you may recognise one or more of these myths!

Here are 4 myths about online learning:

Myth 1: Online learning is just about watching pre-recorded videos

Well-designed online learning experiences are multi-layered and incorporate activities that have been chosen to encourage learner interaction while developing a depth of learning. Our Chief Mate written prep course is a great example of this.

The course has been designed to allow a candidate to start studying at any time and plan their own study schedule to fit around their work and other commitments.

We’ve used video explainers for key concepts as well as GIF animations and step-by-step examples to support candidates as they progress through tutorial workbooks and past paper questions.

The course is currently being piloted and will be available for ‘live’ students to enrol on by mid-December. We already have a list of interested students looking to undertake the course, if you would like to be kept informed when it goes ‘live’ email
If you are interested in finding out more about course design to maximise the learning experience for a student, we find the ABC model an excellent framework to guide your activities. You can access resources and the ABC Toolkit by following this link.

Myth 2: Online Learning is a lonely experience

Online learning is not the same as a distance learning course. Within an online course, spaces are created to encourage interaction and communication with an instructor or your peer group.

At Onboard Maritime, we encourage our learners to use the group discussion board. It is a great way to communicate industry relevant information and exchange ideas.
Regular email and catch-ups via virtual classrooms are other ways we build our community of learning.

One of the positives to come out of the current pandemic is that many more people have had the opportunity to explore different methods of communicating and ways to keep in touch with one another. We are sure that many people, like us, have reflected on the amount of time spent travelling for in-person meetings and are left wondering whether the time could have been better spent.

Myth 3: An online course is only for super organised, super disciplined self-starters

As with any course you undertake, there will be a commitment from your part. Usually this is a financial and time commitment. A combination of a good learning management system and your instructor can support you in your online course studies and provide a structured learning experience.

A personal learning plan is agreed at the start of your studies and your progress is matched against it. Milestones and tasks are assigned to help keep you on track and the plan can be regularly reviewed should there be a change to your circumstances.

Myth 4: Online learning is second best to classroom learning

Whether you choose to learn online or attend an in-person classroom course, the effectiveness of your experience will depend on how the learning activities are constructed.

Research has shown that the principles of delivering in-person and virtual classroom sessions are generally the same. The research also highlighted the additional competencies a student may develop using a virtual classroom which can be transferred into the workplace, including online skills in negotiating, sharing information and collaborative problem solving online.

If you would like to find out more about how Onboard Maritime develops and delivers online learning, get in touch through

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