How Online Courses Are Changing the World

Who’s that young college student standing on the sidewalk of New York sporting a Columbia University t-shirt? He is obviously intelligent and clean cut; he could be a classmate from back in elementary school or maybe someone you played with on the soccer team growing up.

Not quite. When interviewed by Humans of New York, this young man explained that he was born in Egypt with no access to education. Though he dabbled in elementary school after moving to America, he also juggled working to support his family while living in the projects. However, he still made it to one of the top universities in the world because he had unlimited access to hundreds of courses that taught him basically everything he missed during the nine years he was supposed to be in school.

Thousands of miles away, Sal Khan sits in his office recording lectures in the comfort of his pajamas. Not only is he your friendly neighborhood teacher, he is also able to reach over 6 million students with his carefully planned, simple online lectures that break down even the toughest of concepts. Students can enjoy the benefits of top-tier teaching from anywhere, at their own pace, and for free.

The Future of Learning: Self-Paced and Self-Sufficient?

What do the best athletes, musicians, and artists have in common? Practice, practice, practice. Usually they have the guidance of a coach or mentor, but the key differentiator between the good and the great is the ability to revisit what they have learned over and over again until they completely master the concept or skill.

Sal Khan’s Khan Academy and other online courses allow students to do just that. They can rewind and re-practice concepts until they get it right. In a traditional classroom, if a student misses just one idea, he or she may begin to drown in massive flood of confusion. This often results in a bad test grade. Then, instead of mastering that concept, the class often moves on to the next topic. As the student becomes increasingly lost, he will sink deeper and deeper into a confusing abyss, which is often much more extensive than just a bad test grade. That student just lost the opportunity to master something that, though initially confusing, could be his new favorite subject if he actually mastered it.

Khan Academy also allows teachers to view each students’ progress and assess who is zooming ahead, stagnating, or lagging behind. Instead of assuming every student is on the same page, the Khan dashboard allows teachers to use time more efficiently and effectively by laser-focusing on where students struggle and avoids wasting time on repeating already-mastered concepts. Instead of spending time grading homework or repeating lectures, teachers can interact and provide guidance to struggling students and encourage accelerating students.

Beyond the Classroom: OpenSesame!

The young New Yorker who made it to Columbia benefited from accessible education that provided everything he needed to know to get into a top-notch university. But what happens next? After a degree, students typically enter the workforce. Instead of academic knoweldge, employees need job-specific training, certification, and skill-building to ensure a successful career. The formal education might be over, but the learning never stops.

OpenSesame provides a platform that includes both courses and course tracking. Managers decide what training their employees must take and track progress. Employees can take the courses at their leisure and obtain certificates before moving on. Just like Khan Academy, OpenSesame helps managers free up time spent training employees and ensuring their certification in various areas so they can focus more time on business or services.

As K-12 education becomes much more accessible, so does corporate training. eLearning is now also infiltrating the corporate world, providing employees and managers with increasingly easy access to knowledge, training, and skills. Instead of traveling to a local community college or training workshop, employees can take training from the comfort of their home or office at their own pace, and provide evidence of certification when they are done.

The future seems to be about ease; people want to master something at the click of a button. Get started on Khan Academy and don't miss OpenSesame's wide selection of courses. Knowledge makes the world go ‘round, and people just want access.