Thursday, February 4, 2010

Online Learning Commended by Bill Gates

Bill Gates, noted entrepreneur and philanthropist, released his “2010 Annual Letter,” end of January and what was notable to online learning advocates was the section outlining his position in favor of using online learning tools in primary, secondary and higher education.

“So far technology has hardly changed formal education at all,” he wrote. “But a lot of people, including me, think this is the next place where the Internet will surprise people in how it can improve things—especially in combination with face-to-face learning. With the escalating costs of education, an advance here would be very timely.”

This was the second annual letter in which Gates wrote about his priorities for funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation based in Seattle.

“A number of universities are already putting lectures online for free,” he added. “You can find a lot of these courses at sites like . But online learning can be more than lectures. Another element involves presenting information in an interactive form, which can be used to find out what a student knows and doesn’t know. This makes it possible to tailor the learning session to the individual student.”

In an article about Gate’s letter, The U.S. News and World Report said that among “degree-granting online learning programs nationwide,” the number of programs has grown by 75 percent between 2001 and 2008. A lot of institutions have started putting video lectures online and encouraging students to get digital lessons with iTunesU.

To read more about what Bill Gates and his foundation are saying about online learning see . And to read the article in U.S. News go to .