The massive expansion of on-line education across the United States in response to COVID-19 is teaching us many lessons about the value of distributed learning, but equally important, it is reminding us of its limits. In the Naval University System (which consists of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California, and Marine Corps University at Quantico, Virginia, which I oversee as the Navy’s Chief Learning Officer) we have moved to 100% online learning during the crisis. In the process, we have gained a much clearer understanding of what on-line education cannot do or, in other words, the ways in which traditional in-person cannot be replaced.
The most obvious area in which online