E-Learning – Do Ever Get ‘The Guilts’?

Do you ever feel guilty about how you learn

Late last year, I gave Audible a go, the audio-book people. And with it came….guilt and I wondered who else experiences this.

The guilt comes from that old chestnut – it’s the easier way. Reading the book is the right way, the proper, the way that counts. Listening – a cop out. But as much I used to love going to bed with a good book, now I spend hours on a computer screen at work, to be followed by more hours of reading on and off screen for study not to mention I am as guilty as the next person for spending remaining time on more screens and social media. By the time I curl up into bed I am tired, my eyes are tired and listening to someone else read to me is a great wind down. But the guilt.

Obviously the virtuous countdown goes 1st Read It, 2nd Listen to It and 3rd Wait for the film to come out šŸ˜‰

Then I thought if I was feeling a twinge of guilt for that, what about other ways we simplify or streamline life, and in that learning.

A lot of guilt I feel comes as a reaction to snobbery and judgement, of which there is plenty. When I first went to University it was not long after the change of Polytechnics to Universities. At school (a private school) we were encouraged to make sure we were applying to the ‘proper’ Universities. Here’s the zinger, I still tend to think like that. ‘So and so is going to X University. Proper X University?’

Now I think about how that applies to online and distance education. Of course, there has always been, is and will be judgement on something which remains in it’s relative youth. Here I am studying with the OU and so the question arises, is it good enough, is it as good as the ‘proper’. Yet, I don’t feel the guilt on this, I see the place the OU has in tertiary education, and a very important place at that, that allows for people’s circumstances. This is an institution for those who cannot attend the ‘proper’ in the same way as others. It’s track record speaks for itself. Okay maybe I do have the slightest twinge.

Whilst the idea of participation as a vital aspect of learning is now very much discussed, the idea of the teacher imparting knowledge in the more acquisition model still lingers for those of us with whom it was a basis on how we were taught but also, culturally in areas it remains a strong and highly revered form of teaching/learning. Here is one quote that reflects this from Nazarlou M K (2013) Research on Negative Effect on E-Learning,Ā International Journal of Mobile Network Communications & Telematics ( IJMNCT) Vol. 3, No.2, April 2013:

It does not matter E- learning import advanced technology, it cannot substitute face-to-face communication between teacher and students and students and practical activity, mention less education of thousand- year of human’ history

I often wonder how online learning is viewed even amongst my friends and family – I don’t think we have discussed it! hang on a minute – do I judge how and what other people are learning virtually?!

Of course, we are right to have standards and the jokes about getting a degree off the back of a Kellogg’s packet are there for a reason. There are and will be dubious organisations, preying on people’s ambitions and hopes. But, this should not cloud the authenticity, credible and value of the many wonderful ways people can learn informally and formally, by distance, virtually and yes, learn enjoyably.

That one is a kicker isn’t it – enjoyment. I mean if you are enjoying it are you even really learning?! Isn’t study meant to be toil, sweat and tears, isn’t even fun learning meant to come with a dose of graft? And here comes the guilt again…

One of the most exciting things for me about online and virtual learning is the fact it can it can be enjoyable and deceiving – deceiving in that whats simplistic is often the most engaging. But here we come full circle and will people like me and my Audible, be beset by thinking what they are doing isn’t proper, worthwhile, will they feel guilty for taking the easier route.

I’d love to know – have you ever felt guilty about how you learn or judged for the route you have taken?

Now back to listening another Susan Hill book!


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