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Simply put – the ‘beehive approach’ is something that some business people like to use to run their company. This is where you have one central port which holds all the products and services, and from there all those who want it come in and go out, and the process of them doing that builds the business.
The question I ask is is it possible to learn English in this way too. To create one central point where all English information is presented and sold to the user and it is up to them to do whatever they like with it with a view to learning and or enhancing their English.
Well my answer is that – perhaps it is already here with online courses. There are plenty of self study programmes available to people who actually want to learn by themselves. But can someone learn English to any great level by themselves? Is that really possible?
Someone recently was telling me that in New Zealand, the Ministry of Education had finally concluded that self-study online learning was in fact not only a financial failure but a learning failure also. Their argument was that the role of the teacher was far greater in our learning than we ever expected, and as a result, to eliminate the teacher means to eliminate the motivator, the nurturer, the disciplinary, the focuser and the challenger. Content online is simply only that, and the self learner must be someone who possesses all those qualities alone, before they start, they sure aren’t going to be suddenly appearing after the programme starts.
However, saying all this, I’d like to propose that actually the problem with self study is not necessarily the content of the course. My observation is that in fact learning styles has changed over the years too, and so with the ongoing development of how we learn still evolving, so too will our ‘self-study’ expectation as well.
One thing that may start to happen is that face to face learning will simply be far too expensive for most people to afford, however self learning will be at a fraction of the cost. The expectation of employers will change, and people will be forced to find the motivation or enthusiasm to make their online content useful for them.
At the same time, the online content will become increasingly engaging and for those who were previously not interested, there will be something for everyone to get you involved.
How these things will come into play is up to the innovators of online education. But one thing is for certain. The future of learning will not be as we understand today. That is what makes it so exciting. To keep an open mind and positive expectation is the only way to be ready for the change.
So, can the Beehive approach to learning English actually work? My answer – of course – many things will work in the future – but it’s all about how.