Online education is a tool that has vast applications and makes great economic, financial and educational sense as a method of engaging with a diverse population without the traditional restraints. So why is there a preconception that it’s only for younger generations?
There is research showing that online learning has opened up to learners with disabilities, so there is no reason to see the online classroom as an intimidating space for any individual. Many institutions have developed a set of key standards that must be applied to all courses, ensuring a level playing field that provides all skills to all students. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) showcase a learning environment without the historic issues of location and time, meaning accessibility is a non-issue. The ability of e-learning providers to cater to the disabled population demonstrates a clear ability to creatively engineer courses for all learners.
The field of technology and its popularity on the world stage means everyone can benefit from improvements. It is fortunate that both millennials and everyone else who uses online learning tools are having innovation thrust upon them as a result of corporate battles between and among countries. This means that not only are leaps and bounds being made: the desire to have the ‘most accessible’, ‘simplest’ or ‘most user-friendly’ e-learning (a convergence of two huge economic areas—tech and education) is a great help to opening up e-learning to the wider population.
Additionally, it must be remembered that the ‘technophobe’ stereotype of older adults is not accurate as this generation of internet users are just as savvy and able internet users as younger generations. So with the combination of greater innovation, greater internet accessibility, greater numbers of users and greater demand for flexible e-learning courses, it can be easily concluded that online learning needs to be accessible to everyone.
From a practical perspective, there isn’t much research into how adults and nontraditional learners use MOOCs so it can be hard to understand how to cater to them when designing online courses. It is, however, important to remember that education is an essential tool for fulfillment and positive lifestyle through to the stage of older adulthood. So, keeping all types of traditional, nontraditional, disabled, young, old or in-between learners is essential.
In short, of course online learning is not just for millennials. With huge, ever-diversifying populations who have educational needs, alongside a widening range of teachable skills and advances in the field of technology, there is no reason why online courses cannot be utilized by any individual.
- https://unbound.upcea.edu/innovation/contemporary-learners/meeting-the-accessibility-needs-of-adult-students-in-online-classes/ – plenty of evidence that online learning is also being opened up rapidly to learners with disabilities so no reason to see online classrooms as intimidating or out of reach for any person – using key standards for courses to ensure a level playing field that provides all skills to all students
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4722228/ – lack of reseach in how adults and nontraditional students use MOOCs
- https://evolllution.com/opinions/improving-accessibility-for-adult-learners/ – the competition between countries to provide for adult learners is pushing innovation forward so everyone is beneftitting form improvements
- https://www.futureacademy.org.uk/files/images/upload/WELLSO2016F9.pdf – important to remember that educaiton as a tool is essential for fulfilment and positive life experiences, aprticularly int he odler generation, so these accessible, progressive couses are a huge benefit to the over 65s
- https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-age-literature/#how – not all adults are technophobes