Online Learning In Depth Review
What is online learning?
In a traditional classroom or lecture, you learn by listening to your teacher and talking to classmates. There is usually a specific time and location for these classes. With online learning however, you can be anywhere in the world and still receive the same high quality teaching as someone who is there in person.
Online learning is typically conducted through the internet, as a series of courses you can access anytime, anywhere. Socializing and asking questions is done through discussion forums or via email.
Why is online learning growing?
Online learning offers a number of advantages for students wanting to learn new skills or educate themselves – the key one being that they can access this educational material from anywhere, at any time.
Although many people still consider traditional universities, schools or classes as the best way to educate themselves, online learning proves to be a great alternative or supplementary tool.
Key benefits of online learning include:
- Lower total costs – online programs can be a more affordable option than traditional learning institutions. Though not all online degrees have less expensive tuition prices than traditional colleges or universities, associated costs are almost always less expensive when considering commuting and accommodation.
- Variety of programs and courses – students learning online already have a huge variety of courses and instructors they can learn from. Whatever students want to learn, from mechanical engineering to neuroscience to running a business, they can find the online learning courses or classes they need.
- Avoid commuting or relocating – students can save of travel and living expenses, as well as commuting time by learning online. Student accommodation for regular college or university can be very expensive and avoided when learning online.
- Convenience and flexibility – access to all resources at any time lets participants learn wherever they are, leaving them the freedom to choose the time for study. Students can study and work when they are at their peak energy, whether that’s early morning or late at night.
- Immediate results and feedback – online quizzes and interactive experiences can be graded immediately, giving you areas you need to improve without any delay. Waiting for human feedback can take weeks or even months.
- Access to the best teachers – in any country, there are only a handful of experts in every field of study. Take away the limitations of geography, and expertise is free to travel anywhere. This transformation allows information on highly specialized subjects to reach more people, paving the way for advances in fields from robotic control theory to corporate leadership.
Barriers to learning online
There is plenty of positive information about an online education with some very obvious advantages. However, most students are still choosing traditional classes – why is this? There are still several big drawbacks to online education in comparison to traditional classroom education.
1. Lack of accreditation
Few online classes are accredited by established institutions, which is important if people are taking these online classes for a potential new job or resume / CV boost. However this is gradually changing, with large sites offering their own certificates of completion (CreateOnlineAcademy) and companies starting to see students who have completed online courses as a positive, even without accreditation.
2. You need to be self-disciplined
Online courses usually have deadlines for assignments, quizzes, commenting on lectures, etc. The problem is the time management and organization skills necessary to stay on top of your work, allot an appropriate amount of time to complete each task and balance your coursework against other priorities in your life. Students who tend to procrastinate find online courses hard to work through and complete.
3. Low retention and completion rates
Due to the low cost of online courses and training programs, there is less incentive to complete them and large course sites have noticed very few students actually make it to the end. Besides cost, few of these online courses have accreditation for them, further reducing the incentive to finish them. Some students might indeed only need to learn about certain topics on the course and therefore never intend to complete the whole of it, but for the majority of students this is not the case.
4. Require good time-management skills
Online courses require the self-discipline to set aside time to complete your studies. It means you have to make online studying a priority and not let other activities interfere.
5. Lacks the social aspect of regular classes
The social aspect of regular classes is an important part of learning and improving soft skills. Getting stuck on problems and asking classmates, group work and other group based activities help people learn more efficiently and provide a collaborative environment similar to a company workspace. It’s hard to recreate this social aspect with online learning.