Online Learning Is Acquitted; Traditional Education Found Guilty | Ray Ravaglia | 5 Min Read

We have spent much of the last year listening to reports that online learning is failing students.  The story goes something like this: Covid put an end to in-person education, schools used Zoom or Google Meet to move classroom instruction online, students did terribly, therefore online learning doesn’t work. The story is usually bolstered by anecdotes highlighting one or another ridiculous aspect of the system.   

Because the move to online learning was a solution made in desperation, often without much preparation, the fact that it has so often failed students comes as a surprise to no one.  And yet, for those of us who have lived our lives in online education, the failure is less the weakness of online learning and more suggestive of a systematic failure of the standard model of teaching. 

The argument I present here is involved, and one that could be elaborated into a much longer document, but out of consideration for readers, I will endeavor to be brief. 

Beginning in the early 1990s, with projects from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation, the availability of online courses rapidly increased. Online schools and programs at all levels of education became commonplace by 2000.…

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Ray Ravaglia

Raymond Ravaglia, Chief Learning Officer at Opportunity Education, founded Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth, was the principal architect of Stanford University’s Online High School and is also author of Bricks and Mortar: the making of a Real Education at the Stanford Online High School. He has presented regularly at conferences on gifted education and e-learning for the past 15 years. He has published in scholarly and professional journals on different aspects of e-learning, was the 1996 recipient of the paper of the year award from GiftedChild Quarterly, and in 1997 received a Central Pioneer Award. Raymond has served as an external reviewer for the Office of Post-Secondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education, has been an advisor to the College Board on the subject of online education, and was a founding board member of the International Council for Online Learning. He received his BA and MA degrees in Philosophy from Stanford University.