Online Education Heading For Infotainment

Imagine, a university professor giving lecture to an audience which is not only engaged, attentive, but attractive too. And if this is not enough, think about those attending the lecture are not students at all. They are models. Are you amused ? Or, does it sound strange?

Strange it is. But this also makes for good viewing. As more and more universities and colleges are moving into the crowded and distractible world of the Web and offering online courses, they realize the importance of appearance. They are vying for students’ attention, which is under assault from all sort of entertainment. That’s why they are turning education into infotainment.

Infotainment understands the importance of appearance. That’s why when the University of Phoenix enlisted renowned Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen to record a lecture, it populated the classroom with young and smart people. Unusually engaged and attractive students took the professor by surprise. More surprise was in store for him, when one of the guys replied to his query and told him “we are not students, we are models”

You may laugh at this. But the University of Phoenix is serious. Its approach to online education gives you the glimpse of what online education will be in coming days. Power of editing, graphics and cutaways are taking online education to a different level, where winning the war of attention will be as important as delivering more education.

What does infotainment stand for?

Learning outcomes of online education depends a lot on how it is presented to students. Giving a good lecture is not enough. Educationists understand the importance of putting on a show which help them capture the attention of students. Herein lies the importance of infotainment.

Infotainment is all about providing education to all at an affordable price, and presenting it the way which achieves its ultimate purpose – learning outcomes.

Phoenix is not alone in embracing new technologies.  Infotainment has already made some notable forays into top-tier institutions in the US. Almost all top universities like Yale, Harvard, and Bard are developing learning modules which are being enhanced with special effect.

So when you learn about computer, a monkey typing on computers will appear briefly on screen. Similarly, a laser-projecting robot will walk towards you when you are taking a lesson on laser. This year, Yale, Harvard, and Bard’s introduced all these features and more in their online class,called “Great Big Ideas

Clearly, online education is heading for infotainment. And if students love to be entertained while learning, then educators won’t mind developing courses which will be high gloss, low cost, with more graphs and pictures thrown in.

Adapted from”The Most Important Challenge For Colleges Isn’t Price—It’s Attention”,The Atlantic

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