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4 Myths about Online Learning: Challenge your Thinking

4 Myths about Online Learning: Challenge your Thinking

Do you ‘distrust’ or ‘dislike’ online learning? Maybe you’ believe that ‘in-person’ is miles better? Then, it’s definitely time to challenge your thinking on these 4 common myths about online learning.

I’ve attended some fantastic online classes over the past few months and I’ve led plenty of my own.⁠

I’ve gone from teaching partially to fully online and I really love it. ⁠

It’s just as (and in some cases MORE) rewarding and engaging online. We can be more creative with artworks, cover more content around teaching techniques and get more practice/coaching done online. ⁠

My core course, Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO), is a good example of this – we cover 22+ thinking routines, go in-depth into subjects that we can only touch upon in-person and see progress and growth over a number of weeks (rather than a matter of hours).⁠

But I still get comments from people who say they ‘distrust’ or ‘dislike’ online learning and would prefer to do an in-person course.⁠ It’s definitely time to debunk and challenge these 4 common myths about online learning.

MYTH #1 There is no accountability

Maybe you’ve signed up for an online course in the past and failed to finish it? We’ve all been there (including me!) but it doesn’t have to be that way. I thought about this very carefully when designing my flagship course Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO). I wanted participants to feel accountable but at the same time have the time complete some of the course when it was convenient for them. In the end I decided for a combination of live teaching and self-led learning and it ensures engagement and accountability throughout the course. All participants finished the May course and received a certificate.

MYTH #2 There is no community

Some online courses provide space for community but not all by any means. One of the key ingredients of the Visible Thinking Membership is the sense of community that members feel.
We have an active Facebook group and weekly live classes so that you can get to know each other, network and collaborate together. We also have practice and coaching groups, so that you can develop and grow together too.
Too often, we work alone or side-by-side as educators, guides and teachers. Having regular practice and coaching sessions provides a chance for us to get together, share and be inspired by others.
The VT Membership offers a mix of learning and networking; it’s a place for idea sharing, creating connections and developing your practice. The community also provides a springboard for new collaborations between participants, whilst others have found new work or projects as a result of other course participants. Go global – expand your network beyond your city, country and become part of a global, inclusive community.

MYTH #3 The quality is better in-person

I really believe that the Visible Thinking Membership will transform the way you teach, design and lead discussions about art and ideas. A big claim.
I also think that VTMO is the best course I’ve designed around my Visible Thinking in the Museum method (another big claim). It beats in-person hands-down.
And this is why: Everything you will learn can be applied to the in-person museum, heritage or tour experience, just as it can be applied to the online learning environment.
But also, I teach three times the content on the online course compared to the in-person course. We learn 22+ thinking routines together over the course of 8 modules. We have the time to practise to devote to subjects that I can only touch upon in a live training. And we have time to practise every week – not just for one hour at the end of a one-day training.
It is the most comprehensive Visible Thinking course out there teaching you to lead discussions about art and ideas – it not only teaches you the what, it teaches you the how and the why too.

MYTH #4 It’s dull and non-interactive

Many online courses rely on quizzes and worksheets in their offerings to provide ‘proof’ that you’ve learned something. Not in my courses or online classes.
If you’ve taken part in my live guided art discussions recently (free or paid), you will have seen firsthand how engaging, interactive and interesting Visible Thinking is online as well as offline. You will have seen how enthusiastic and active I am when teaching via Zoom too (!). Online teaching requires a different skill set to in-person teaching, but it doesn’t have to be dull and dry. I’ve seen far too many courses where the main teaching element is a pre-recorded lecture.
In order to ensure my participants are engaged on my VTMO course, I offer a weekly 90-120 minute live class with me and a 30 minute video they can watch at their own pace. This allows a combination of self-paced and live learning, gives participants access to me to ask questions and an opportunity meet and mingle with their fellow course participants. I never run classes longer than 120 minutes either – 90 minutes is a good rule of thumb to keep everyone motivated and engaged.
Developing online teaching skills will be a core component throughout the Visible Thinking Membership – you will learn from taking part in weekly online discussions and in our September Masterclass I will teach you how to be a Master Virtual Art Facilitator on Zoom so that you feel comfortable and at ease in the digital environment and can be as creative as possible in designing discussions. We use the full set of tools available to us on Zoom so that we can all be creative facilitators both online and offline.
Still not convinced? Let me share some recent testimonials:
‘I loved being in this community (especially during lockdown). I’ll never forget it’
‘The online VTMO course was stimulating, thought-provoking, engaging and totally inspirational. Thank you, Claire’
‘It went beyond my expectations. Did not think that an online course could create such a feeling of being part of a community’
‘I was not quite sure how it would work having done the in-person course before and was slightly anxious about the level of interaction. I was new to Zoom too. Each session live was amazing. I always felt engaged as activities, provoking questions, “chat” helped to hold interest continually in each session.There were lots of opportunities to contribute and the online course was so interactive.’
Hopefully I’ve challenged your thinking and debunked these 4 common myths about online learning for you. In-person training courses are not always the better option – online learning can actually be far superior than in-person when it’s done in the right way, when participants are accountable, feel part of a community and are engaged and curious throughout. Join my Visible Thinking Membership and get started NOW with interactive online learning to engage your audience with art and ideas. Already a member? See you there. If not, you can join us here.