Web-Based Learning is Here to Stay

Web-Based Learning is Here to Stay

By Chris Rogers


I recently re-read an article I wrote two years ago titled “Why E-Learning is the Future of Education.” The article is based on a topic I’ve presented to several groups in the last 5 years about the evolution of technology and its influence on education, and vice-versa. It was published in the Spring 2019 issue of 32 Degrees, timed to coincide with the addition of a few of the first PSIA-AASI E-Learning offerings.


The article prompted some great conversations with instructors around the country about web-based learning, online training, education theory, and whether e-learning could be useful as a supplement to in-person training. Throughout those conversations, one of the main themes was whether digital learning could replace hands-on, feet in the snow experiences – the overall sentiment was that it couldn’t.


When I’ve presented this topic to groups, I always ask by show of hands, how many people would prefer to attend a 1-hour class in-person and how many would prefer to do it online. It’s probably no surprise to you that in our instructor audiences it’s usually 80+% in favor of in-person. However, when you ask that same question to a group of new-hires, or an audience that is primarily under 30, they’re fairly indifferent to online vs in-person as a way to learn.


How things have changed in just the last 6 months.


Across the world, individuals, organizations, and corporations, have been forced to adopt online communication as their primary means of conveying information, almost overnight. Most of the tech industry is working from home (and in some industries that may become the future norm), schools have strived to integrate more digital learning, and businesses everywhere have taken steps to reduce the amount of in-person interaction with contactless payments and online ordering. Niche online meeting software like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams have become ubiquitous, and many of us have logged more time in virtual meetings this summer than in the rest of our lives.


PSIA-AASI is no different. For years we’ve been working on reducing our footprint by moving printed resources online. We’ve used E-Learning to replace some prep materials, but for the most part, it’s been used to prime for learning, not provide or supplement the education. This year, all of our clinic and exam materials are online, including digital Assessment Forms that will be emailed to the candidates. On the snowboard side, we’ve moved our Movement Analysis videos online; no more projectors and paper, and exam candidates will do MA using their phones, just like they do with students. We’re also offering our MA 201 and 301 pre-requisites online, and are evaluating ways to provide teaching and riding coaching through webinars as well.


Fast-forward another 5 years, and what might things look like at the current rate of technology-fueled education advancement? It could mean fully immersive experiences, with our guests visiting resorts virtually before setting foot on snow. Imagine sending new students a virtual experience the week before they arrive – you could introduce their equipment, show them your beginner area, and even walk them through the lesson plan. When they arrive for their lesson they’re primed for learning and ready to hit the ground sliding!


Similarly for clinics and exams, trainers could send videos of skills and drills prior to a clinic, so that, just like Khan Academy’s flipped classrooms, instructors can prepare in advance and the clinic time with the trainer would revolve around practice and adjustment rather than introduction to content. A future version of The Matrix (PSIA-AASI’s video library) might include virtual-reality components that enable candidates to experience the standards video first-hand, railing a carve as Alpine Team member Jonathan Ballou, dropping into steeps in Crested Butte with Dusty Dyer, or gapping onto a rail as Snowboard Team member Amy Gan.

We’re not there yet, and thankfully we will be able to offer clinics and exams on-snow in many parts of the country this winter, but PSIA-AASI members who are not able to attend clinics in-person have more options than ever to continue their education online. From E-Learnings to Webinars, there are opportunities for members of all disciplines to complete continuing education credit, and in many cases, complete some of their certification pre-requisites online.


PSIA AASI Rocky Mountain 20-21 Events Page (Webinars Found Here): https://www.psia-rm.org/events/?cal-month=11&cal-year=2020


I hope to see you on a webinar this fall!

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