Out today are the results of a study by Canadian Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) that e-learning and high-tech formats should not replace traditional types of courses at the post-secondary level. Actually I’m not surprised that, as the London Free Press is reporting, of those studied, 79% of students reported that they preferred old-fashioned lectures, while 82.3% preferred tangible textbooks over e-books.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that colleges and universities should stop offering some high-tech classrooms or online programs and degrees. It simply means that educational officials need to be reminded that not everyone learns in the same way. And, while there is a lot of debate about learning styles, it just makes sense that there is variability in how people prefer to learn.
For example, for those reading this, when travelling by car to a location for the first time, do you prefer following a map or a point form list with instructions and landmarks on how to get there? Or, like me, do you prefer a bit of both. Or, since this discussion is about high-tech, do you prefer a Global Positioning System (GPS)?
In any event, if anything positive is going to come out of the HESA results, it is that post-secondary institutions (as well as regular public school systems) are going to have to make sure high-tech and online courses do not, whether purposely or inadvertently, replace traditional lecture formats and old-fashioned hands-on labs and seminar discussions.
Endnote: Here is the PDF of the actual study for those who want to read the actual report.