Once confined to physical spaces with face-to-face interactions, classroom learning has long been the cornerstone of education. However, contrary to popular belief, online learning is not a new concept. According to the article by Joksimović et Al, “The origins of modern distance education can be traced back to the early 18th century” (2015, p. 15). Most commonly seen in society in higher education, with students being able to complete modules for correspondence courses leading to certificates or degrees. However, in recent years, there has been a significant shift in what online learning can be, including expanding the ages of participants to allow individuals access to educational content anytime, anywhere, fostering flexibility and personalized learning journeys for more than just postsecondary. 

Based on my current understanding and experience, my definition of online learning would be the ability to meet a student’s educational needs and goals through various modalities. This may include fully online courses, hybrid models that combine online and in-person instruction, or blended approaches that allow the students increased accessibility by integrating multimedia resources, interactive tools, and adaptive technologies that cater to diverse learning styles. Prior to the pandemic, my experience with online teaching was non-existent. However, during this time I had the opportunity to see the potential benefits of online learning for some of my students. Some flourished academically without the possible social risks of being in a traditional classroom.  This really did open my eyes to the potential of matching learning styles to individual students for success. 

This shift in online learning mirrors a broader societal move towards digitalization and challenging traditional norms. It underscores that physical constraints do not bind learning, but learning is, in fact, a continuous and adaptable process much like the image I chose of the slinky. The slinky is a timeless toy enjoyed by many generations just like the educational process but the slinky moves and changes to meet the environment it finds itself in.  The slinky and the growth of online learning continues to shape learners’ uniqueness, providing opportunities for so many to keep learning and growing. In the end, is that not what we want from education?


Joksimović, S., Kovanović, V., Skrypnyk, O., Gašević, D., Dawson, S., & Siemens, G. (2015). 

Preparing for the digital university: A review of the history and current state of distance, blended, and online learning. http://linkresearchlab.org/PreparingDigitalUniversity.pdf