Get Weekly Tips & More in Your Inbox (it's free) 

This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a long while. I even talked about the topic on the MassageNerd show last year. But I’ve held off writing about it because it didn’t feel like there was enough critical mass to make the topic worthwhile.

We need to bring learning

But that’s changing. Online learning isn’t just Tools For Touch (still a great source of CE credits), or the downloadable document. And it’s not just for the big universities either.

Online learning has become available to the solo CE provider and the small massage school owner. The number of tools for creating online course materials¬†and delivering them to a variety of students has grown and they’ve gotten more powerful and easier to use. Plus, they are affordable.

I expect this to have a big impact on the massage profession. How?

  • Continuing education classes will become available to a wider audience. This will allow teachers to reach new students in far flung locations
  • Continuing education classes will become more convenient. On demand. Taken at your home during hours that work around your schedule.
  • With no travel, lodging, and meal expenses, getting your CEs will be less expensive.
  • With no travel requirements, you will have a greater variety of CE classes to sample from.
  • Massage school instructors can spend less time lecturing and more 1 on 1 time with students.
  • Students will have the ability to review materials outside of the classroom.
  • And many more

This is going to require that instructors and students adapt to new technology

This is going to be disruptive. Technology always is, even within the high-tech world. Instructors and students are going to have to learn new skills. Instructors and schools are going to have to hire experts to get their courses online and keep them running.

Students are going to have to develop discipline to do the online portion of the courses before the classroom time.

For purely online courses, students are going to lose the ability to ask the instructor questions in real time.

Udemy, Coursera, MIT, the Smithsonian, and many large corporations have been using online courses for years. It’s only been a matter of time before it migrates into all professions, including ours.

In future posts, I’ll be exploring a variety of online learning options and even talking to some of the people using them. In the meantime, I’d like to take a quick poll. If you would reply in the comments below:

  1. Have you ever taken any online courses? Massage related or not.
  2. What did you like best about the online course experience? What did you like least?
  3. What do you think about more continuing education and basic massage education coursework moving to an online learning environment?
  4. If you teach massage or CEs, are you thinking about online education?

4 Responses to Online Education – an exploration

  1. 1. Yes. Not massage related.
    2. I liked not leaving the house. I didn’t like having to depend on myself to stay motivated as there was no one emailing or keeping in touch to check my progress.
    3. I’m not against it at all. I like the idea of online and in-class combination. But MANY people are not ready for this.
    4. I do not teach.

    One thing that will be difficult to catch up to technology is State Legislation. In AR we are only allowed 6 hours of online CE to go towards renewal. AND they can only be non-hands on/technique. (Ethics, aromatherapy, things like that.) That said, that won’t stop me from taking an online class that I’m interested in. I’m not afraid to take classes even if they don’t “count.”

    • Thanks for your feedback Tracy. I agree that the states are going to have to catch up as many of them limit the number of online classes you can take.

  2. 1. Yes, both massage related and not.
    2. Best things: they were very convenient, some allow you to re-watch after the initial screening, some include a pdf of notes so I could follow along and take my own notes along with them. Worst things: there are occasionally technological issues, I’ve had them start late, have no video, no audio, cut out in the midst of it for various reasons.
    3. Personally, I’m a big fan of online resources because it’s something I’ve been following since day one of my career. I do also see the value in a hands on class environment and think that some balance of both is best for me. I do understand that online learning isn’t for everyone though, especially if you’re not comfortable with computers.
    4. I’m not an instructor.

"Dream large, laddie!" - Local Hero, 1983