Why Online Learning?
I was interviewed about our online dog and cat first aid & CPR certification course for a podcast hosted by Bella Vasta of JUMP Consulting – Pet Business Coaching. Following the podcast Bella Vasta made a post on her consulting Facebook page regarding the available option for pet sitters to take this online course. An in-person instructor immediately jumped into the discussion to voice her opinion about the problems with online learning – she admittedly had not taken the course.
It was a knee-jerk reaction to a feeling she had regarding online courses “cutting corners” (I know because she was asked to elaborate on her issues) but when I thought about it further I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth!
The Only Corners Cut are on Travel
An online course takes A LOT of effort to write, develop and produce. The only corner cutting comes from the geographical restriction that no longer exists, otherwise – in the case with ProPetHero- we are bringing the highest level of education from a highly accredited individual to people that wouldn’t otherwise have access.
For part of the discussion I reviewed the benefits to taking an online course that I knew from my own experience, research etc. and it got me thinking – what do the studies that have been conducted illustrate about online learning versus in-person?
The Result Are In
90% of information sent to the brain is visual and the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. That means that while the in-person course is visual, once you leave you are only left with a text book that summarizes the course. Online learning, particularly with ProPetHero leaves the students with two years access to the actual training videos – so no information is lost or forgotten. You also receive a downloadable manual, certainly there is no lack of access to the information.
The biggest piece of evidence I found was revealed by actual studies conducted by the US Department of Education. They released a study, “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies.” In this study and the subsequent article that was released, it was concluded that, on average, “students who took all or part of their classes online performed better than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” So as the facts illustrate, online isn’t a lesser way to learn, it may in fact be a better way to learn.
Some other points brought up by the in-person or traditional learning course supporters (another joined in) were that online courses were misleading students into being able to learn the hands-on skills. I am not certain why that misconception exists but let me explain how our course in particular works.
Who is Teaching It?
ProPetHero is taught by one of the highest accredited and appropriate people to teach the course; a board certified in emergency and critical care DVM – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. This vet just so happens to also be a professor of emergency veterinary medicine and critical care. The traditional in-person courses provided by popular companies are most often taught by people who took a course on how to teach people pet first aid and CPR, meaning most did not have any trained medical knowledge, veterinary knowledge and often no experience in actually saving pets. The claim is that these in-person, tradition or “hands-on” courses hold more benefits because the instructor can walk around the room insuring the students are performing the associated skills correctly. While that certainly can be a benefit, it’s only as good as the qualified individual teaching you. Would you rather learn from someone that has maybe never saved a pet, or from a person that was medically trained to save and has saved 100’s of pet lives?
The bottom line is there is room for both to exist. The animosity towards online learning is not specific to the pet industry. Collegiate institutions and even K-12 district educators have said that online learning blemishes the credibility of all education but the studies illustrate a different result. Online learning is proven to enhance learning. I haven’t conducted a study personally but my own experience reveals that case. I have taken every available in person pet first aid & CPR course – within 2 hrs from my home outside Boston, heck I was even an instructor trained through a national company. When ProPetHero came to market I was its biggest skeptic! I said to myself, “you can’t learn those necessary hands-on skills online”, can you? YES! And you CAN learn hands-on online.
Unlike traditional classroom in-person classes, I took this online course in my pajamas with a cup of coffee in my hand. I had my dog and cat by my side on which to practice; this got them used to me touching them in ways I wouldn’t normally and it made me used to doing so. I took a break once I got bored. I returned a few hours later only from my couch instead of the kitchen table. I had a meeting to go to so I returned a couple of days later, re-watched the last segment as I had forgotten where I left off and then proceeded to take the remainder of the course from my back deck in the sun with my laptop and dog right next to me. I stopped, practiced, looked, poked, etc. and started back up when I was ready or felt like I fully grasped what was being taught.
The ProPetHero course taught me the skills I needed from an ER vet in the environment where issues were most likely to happen or be noticed – my home!
Don’t Knock It Before You Try It
Its cliché to say but don’t knock it before you try it. I was a hard sell to the online learning industry, now I am one of their biggest fans. Pull up a cushion on your couch alongside your furry friend. Sign into the ProPetHero course today, so you can learn how to save them tomorrow. Time is not on our side these days and technology is actually there to help us make our lives and those of our pets better by saving us time in providing access to this necessary information.