For many learners, this is the dream scenario:
They take in-person classes when they have time and can afford it.
They turn to online learning for the rest, because it is cost-effective and allows them to learn at any time of day and at their own pace.
So many people are drawn to this scenario, say educators, that online learning is the fastest growing education venue today.
The Multichannel Church puts online learning at the top of its list. It doesn't preclude familiar face-to-face venues like sitting around a table at church. Those still happen. What online learning does is open a wide door to new constituents who, for their own reasons, aren't drawn to traditional venues. They want to learn, but they don't to travel across town for a 7:30pm class. They would rather join a webinar for interactive learning or take a prerecorded online class at 2:00am.
We are focusing on webinars, which are live Internet-based conferences involving both a visual element (such as slides) viewed on a computer screen and a listening element through telephone. Presentations are recorded and then made available for those who prefer to watch on their own schedules.
Several colleges, universities and seminaries are making online learning available. Classes range from free one-time lectures to multi-week classes with homework, group time and papers.
For the Multichannel Church, a good approach is to make quality materials that it produces available for viewing and online discussion. These won't have the complete functionality of a seminary class using Blackboard, a high-end learning tool, but they will leverage existing resources, such as the pastor's preaching and teaching, and engage with more people than typically attend a service or class.
To see which approach works best for you, please contact Tom Ehrich for a brief consultation on best practices and current tools.