I've spent quite a lot of time over the past few weeks thinking about the experience of learning online and how the process feels to the learner. One aspect that I am both amazed by but also overwhelmed by is the sheer amount of information that is available for free to people all around the world. Sometimes it is hard to find truly "free" things in the world but after reading articles, stories, blogs, tweets and magazine articles related to online learning, this aspect has excited me the most. When I come across an interesting article or course outline I get excited when I think of a co-worker or family member that would enjoy what I've found, it reminds me of treasure hunting in a sense. For me, this is when research becomes meaningful, especially when I know I can share and use the ideas in real life.
Reading through one blog leads you to another where you find more great information and new perspectives on a topic such as tips on using D2L more effectively or how to work with a multi-lingual group. Reading (and listening) to new ideas has given me a new appreciation for the learning process. I forgot what it feels like to be excited about projects and courses since I spent most of my last year focusing on the baby and kid world. All sorts of new ideas for courses keep jumping into my head, both academic and non-academic. I wonder what the world will look like in 10 or 20 years time, will online learning become more ingrained into the public and post-secondary education experience in the ways we think it will? Will post-secondary institutions continue the trend of offering free online courses to the public? I wonder if my excitement about all of this interesting free information will change as free access to education becomes more commonplace? What do you think? What are your thoughts about online education and the infinite amount of information that is available to us? How to you handle the overwhelming feelings you get when you keep coming across great articles and information?