You may have heard of a successful online education site at https://www.khanacademy.org . This site has been recommended time and again as being a wealth of educational resources delivered far superior to what is offered in many classrooms. Free, quick and entertaining videos that teach in 10 minute digestible chunks.
I follow a blog, http://webtalkwithbob.blogspot.com , that has lately been focused on changes happening and needed in the education system. This blog has been promoting a venture at, https://www.coursera.org . Coursera describes their effort of providing education over the internet. They describe the “Pedagogical Foundations” for providing a basis for why online education is at least as good and with some evidence it can be superior to physical attendance in a classroom. The Coursera effort is more than education for education sake, it seeks to be accredited and provides educators and curricula from top Universities. So far, it also is free.
Educators will tell you that education has many benefits and is not just vocational training. However, education is a significant financial investment and it could not be so if it did not have a financial return. So, most students that purchase education expect it to benefit them financially. They are pursuing education to start or better their careers. So what happens when a Coursera or Khan Academy accredited graduate, which will likely exist someday, enters the workplace?
When I discovered the word Pedagogy, the study of education, at the Coursera site I looked for its complimentary word meaning the study of work and I found that the word is Ergonomics. Ergonomics does not just mean a comfortable chair and oddly shaped keyboard. It has the same meaning and potential application to the workplace as Pedagogy does to education. So as Pedagogy shows that internet based learning with a Telepresence has advantages to education, Ergonomics should show some of the same benefits to telecommuting.
In fact when the telelearner becomes more the norm, the workplace will have to adapt and provide for the telecommuter. Something it does not do well yet. Companies that start developing and adopting policies and resources that support telecommuting will soon have the advantage of the best educated employees.