New ideas rekindle ideas from the past (Thornburg, 2009). Technology today is a reinvention of ideas from the past. Cavemen used fire to light their nights. Prior to electricity from steam engines, underground gas lines were used to light up street corners. The long-lasting incandescent bulb was lit by electricity passing through tungsten. Now, compact fluorescent and LED lights are finding their place within homes. The basic idea is having light through a source. Cavemen had fire, and now we have energy-efficient light bulbs.
Online education has evolved over time like the light bulb has evolved over time, which is a reinvention of prior ideas. Online education takes ideas of face-to-face classrooms and applies technology to enhance the experience. Hiltz and Turoff (2005) noted that online education is starting to become a feasible substitute of face-to-face learning and distance learning. Face-to-face and distance education are heavily characterized as a teacher-centered model where the teachers provide instruction through PowerPoint presentations, lectures, sharing of notes by the teacher, and transmittal of static video. The current leap in online education is to offer a substitute of what prior models of education looked like.
The future of online education will incorporate learning theories that are more collaborative because information will become easier to share. Kelly (2007) noted that society is moving from getting information from static web pages to that of linking databases together. The effects of this is monumental because students will not only have access to static content that mirror face-to-face classrooms, but they will have access to collaborative resources for their immediate use as they solve a new problem or generate new ideas. Williams and Goldberg (2005) posited that “death-by-PowerPoint” would be replaced by an engaging and collaborative pedagogy as the number of online students increase. Society is moving from face-to-face education to an online format that mirror face-to-face education. Ultimately, the goal is to create a collaborative environment where deep learning outcomes are produced (Williams & Goldberg, 2005).
Hiltz, S.R., & Turoff, M. (2005). Education goes digital: The evolution of online learning and the revolution in higher education. Communications of the ACM. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.111.2270&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Kelly, K. (2007, December). Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the Web [Speech]. Speech delivered at the EG 2007 Conference, Los Angeles. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html
Williams, J.B., & Goldberg, M. (2005). The evolution of e-learning. Ascilite. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/84_Williams.pdf