Mattan Griffel over at One Month Rails takes on those who underestimate online education:
Imagine a world in which no one person experiences the same class in the same way. One that adjusts a lesson on computer programming depending on whether a student already has previous experience with programming, or is a total beginner – why not use concepts a student may already have to allow them to learn something faster?
Mattan's right about some of this: Computer-mediated learning has huge potential that's currently untapped, and customisation to individual learning styles is only one aspect. He's wrong however in making this an either/or argument, and in characterising classroom education as all linear, one-size-fits-all. There's a great deal that an effective educator can do to accommodate different learning styles, and a great deal of approaches that we can employ in group learning that aren't yet happening effectively online. Both in and out-of-class learning can use collaboration and technology to improve tremendously over the next decade.