Ever Compared Marathons to Online Learning?

An Expert's View about Business Environment in the United States

Posted on: 25 Oct 2011

I’ve been in the online learning industry for a few years now. I’ve also been running marathons for a while, and I’ve noticed some traits that are common between people that excel in those two arenas.

The marathon is named after the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. It is a 26 mile long test of endurance, preparedness and mental strength. It celebrates the victory of the dedicated competitor over a distance thought by most as humanly impossible. Oftentimes, it is believed that marathons are the domain of young athletic professionals. A 100 year old gentleman completed a marathon in a little over 8 hours in Toronto last week. So age is obviously not a factor anymore.

Online learning was not named after anything quite as adventurous, but it is the new arena of excitement. As technology continues to improve and bandwidth increases globally, we continue to see online learning as more engaging, pervasive and prevalent.

What do marathoners and online learners have in common?  A whole lot in my opinion. I’m going to share a few similarities, and I request readers to add to my theory or refute my hypothesis.

On Planning and Preparation

      Preparing for a marathon requires the runner to plan their day and find time to run at least three times per week.

      Online learning requires the learner to plan their day and find time to study at least three times per week.

Being Goal Getters

      Marathoners plan months ahead with the race in mind and work diligently towards their personal goal for the race. The goal could be a time target or a position in the race or simply completion, which is quite ambitious as well.

      Online learners plan months ahead with their certificate and learning objectives in mind and work diligently toward that goal. The goal for an online learner could be developing a new professional skill, adding a new set of arrows to your professional quiver or staying abreast of new developments in your field of interest.

Solitude and Groupies

      Marathoners are equally happy to run alone or in groups. Some days they want the solitude of the lonely road, and on other days, the running conversations are worth slowing down for.

      Online learners are equally happy doing their self-paced activities or collaborating online. Some days, a learner chooses to go over their lessons in solitude taking their time introspecting and questioning. On other days, online learners engage with other classmates on the discussion forums to share views and get new perspectives.

      Marathons are a test of persistence and physical fitness.

      Online learners also test their persistence, and well-designed online learning always challenges your mental fitness.

Visit us at www.online.thunderbird.edu to learn more about your online learning adventure....


Posted: 25 October 2011

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