THE future of learning will be online. During the past week I enrolled to complete a masters degree in health professions education at the University of the Free State (UFS), and I also started an online accreditation course for BlackBoard which is also an online training system.
The reason I am mentioning it is because in the past you could not start all of these at the same time, with instructors from around the country and also participants from Johannesburg, Durban and even Cape Town without anybody getting in a car or on a plane.
All of this is happening while I am kicking off my research of my dissertation. Most of my research will be done online and if I need a book I’ll go to an online bookshop like and in some cases I’ll have the book delivered within 24 hours.
A few years ago the picture looked very different. I would have not been able to register and pay online for my studies at a university, I would have stood in line for hours.
If I needed resources I would have had to go through many little index cards to find the right book and then also go through the book to find relevant information. I would have had to make many notes to try and capture the information for me to take it home and compose my final script.
If I wanted to attend an accreditation course all the delegates would have to converge onto a specific location for a specified number of days and work through the information. Now with online conferencing services I get back to my work a minute after the online contact session has ended.
After I finish writing, I will get back to my studies and research without missing a beat.
How things have changed. I think they will continue to change, and one day almost all learning will take place online.
.  Nico Baird is a new media expert and can be contacted at