Streaming education

Streaming education

By Morten Flate Paulsen

I am a thinker. Often an ambivalent doubter. An ardent believer in online education – still searching for new terms, like streaming education, to extend my insufficient online education vocabulary.

So, what if linear TV is geriatric, linear schools are old fashioned and digital natives prefer streaming TV and streaming education?

I have spent 30 years promoting online education. Often successful, but not effective enough in explaining the range of opportunities and challenges related to time-flexibility in online education. Now, I often ponder if it could be useful to introduce a term like “streaming education” to understand the weaknesses of linear education. To explain why most online education not provide as much flexibility of time that I want.

So, let me try. The term streaming education (Strømmeskolen in Norwegian) first appeared in my thinking when I understood that an increasing number of linear school dropouts appreciate streaming music and streaming television. Streaming media are there whenever they want them. So, why is online education not equally available? Why not allow students to binge-study online courses during weekends and holidays?

Voila – welcome streaming education!

Online education (including MOOCs) has all the means to provide streaming education. However, most online education is quite linear, not profiting from the full potential of flexibility in time. So, what distinguishes streaming education from online education? My engineering background makes it easier to present my ideas in this table:

Dimensions of time flexibility Online education Streaming education
Flexible deadlines Maybe Yes
Flexible events Maybe Yes
Flexible start-up Maybe Yes
Flexible progress Maybe Yes
Flexible exam dates Maybe Yes
Flexible sequencing Maybe Yes
Flexible vacation Maybe Yes


The table does not indicate that streaming education is better than other online education. It only points out that it is more flexible in time – and maybe more attractive for streaming generations.

However, wise people like you will probably argue that many online students need the structure of linear schools to reach their goals. This cliff-hanger lack of structure is probably the best argument against streaming education – until we develop better tools that can deal with these challenges.

To be continued in Season Two of Streaming Education….


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