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Last updated: 29.08.12

E-learning hybrid 'can meet university education challenges'

A hybrid of e-learning and traditional education is an effective solution to the challenges of providing academic services in university. Robert Sternberg, senior vice-president, provost and professor of psychology at Oklahoma State University, wrote in an article for the Oklahoman: "Online learning can and does play an important role in higher education." Furthermore, he pointed out that its usefulness will ensure its utility in this position will continue. Students can engage in distance learning online to understand large amounts of information, such as basic biological or historical facts, he remarked. Furthermore, virtual learning environments can help to create a situatiopn that can "simulate procedural knowledge", providing vocational training such as by enabling learners to use the tools in a plane's cockpit or through other simulations, Mr Sternberg added. Driving, building, operating and other workplace skills can be acquired through online training, the professor continued, although he noted that hands-on experience is also typically required to complement this learning. E-learning also has high utility for people who cannot afford to engage in campus education, such as through monetary constraints or because of real-world responsibilities, he noted. While exclusive online training can be needed for these people, other students can benefit from "a hybrid of online learning with face-to-face learning", the specialist continued. "Online education has its place, but it will never replace face-to-face learning," he predicted. Data from the Oklahoma State University-Information Technology Department revealed that between 2007 and 2011, the university deployed online learning provisions relatively rapidly. Participants in these classes can choose to either engage wholly in distance learning online or to take part in hybrid or web-enhanced e-learning courses. There are a number of decisions that ought to be made by people taking part in online training, which enable them to direct their own education and take control.

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