Online learning has been around for about two decades. Since the idea of e-learning began to take hold in the late 1990s, the popularity of learning online has grown. In recent years, it has flourished. The growing interest in online education is due to a number of advantages that it has to offer that set it apart from traditional on-campus education.
One of the oft-cited reasons for the popularity of online education is the flexibility it offers. Students are not forced into a difficult balancing act between school, work, and family responsibilities as they are with traditional on-campus education. Instead of students having to shift their schedules around to accommodate class schedules, they can fit online classes into their established daily schedules.
This sort of flexibility is especially important for non-traditional-aged students. It offers the ability to work, parent, and spend time with one’s spouse without having to sacrifice getting a degree–or vice versa.
While it is especially good for non-traditional students, this flexibility also holds appeal for traditional-aged students as well. Instead of sacrificing years by completely dedicating oneself to an on-campus education, students have the option to get started with a job or military service after high school while also continuing their educations.
Just as online learning provides greater flexibility in terms of scheduling, it also offers students a greater chance at mobility. Courses are portable. Students can participate in the course anywhere that they have access to the internet, which can be pretty much anywhere in the world.
This ability to transport one’s education opens up a lot of options. It means not having to forego or forestall a family vacation for instance. It also can open up additional educational opportunities in that it can allow for travel that might enhance the learning experience. It also makes it easier for active military personnel to continue their educations while serving their country, since class is available wherever they are.
Accessibility is another key advantage to learning online. While some parts of a traditional campus may be difficult or impossible for someone with disabilities to access, online learning removes such physical barriers (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/education/learning/life-is-complicated-distance-learning-helps.html).
Another component of this is that the disability is not a factor in the student’s interactions with others in the learning environment. The emotional barrier that may exist in a more traditional setting disappears within the online setting, because the student knows that the professor and other students see the academic ability of him or her rather than seeing the disability.
In the United States, 40 million student loan borrowers owe a staggering $1.5 trillion in debt (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/college-student-loans.html). Traditional, on-campus, in-person education carries with it a significant financial cost. That cost can leave students with what has been described as “soul-crushing debt.”
Online learning carries with it a smaller price tag than traditional, on-campus education. That reduced cost is a significant advantage for students. A similar education can be obtained without the crushing debt burden. This frees the student from the worry of how to pay back the loans, and it opens up the ability to pursue work that one truly loves rather than being forced to take a job in an attempt to cover one’s student loan bills.
With growing concerns about safety on college campuses, there is another distinct advantage to learning online. That advantage is, of course, safety. When there is no physical classroom, there is no danger of an active shooter situation. With no on-campus housing, there is no danger of sexual assault in the dormitory or being secretly filmed by one’s roommate. With online learning, one’s educational environment is as safe and secure as wherever one chooses to be. A traditional college campus simply cannot compare in that respect.
Increased Instructor-Student Time
When studying in a traditional setting, one can struggle to get the attention of one’s instructor. Many colleges have large class sizes and, quite often, professors keep limited office hours. For students, that can mean not having much direct interaction with the people who are providing the instruction. That limited interaction between instructors and students can have a detrimental effect on the educational experience and on what students take away from a course.
In the online learning arena, however, it is different. Instructors do not keep limited office hours. They are always just a mouse click away. Students can ask questions when they think of them rather than having to wait for class time or office hours, and there will be a response from the instructor shortly thereafter.
There is yet another advantage to learning online. That advantage is that online students enjoy the chance to learn increased self-discipline.
Online education offers greater flexibility than on-campus education does. Along with that greater flexibility comes increased responsibility on the student’s part. There is no set schedule, nor is there a professor in the room with the student keeping him or her on task. That means the impetus is on the student to sit down and do the work needed for the online class. This increased self-discipline is yet another advantage that the student can point to when interviewing with potential employers, and it is something they carry with them in their day-to-day lives.
These are but seven of the advantages that online education has to offer. There are, of course, many others as well.
With the growing popularity of this method of educational opportunity, there are a myriad of options available to pursue one’s passion. A good option for those looking to work in education is Adapt Education Teachers Aide Course.
For those looking to pursue higher education, online learning offers a world of exciting possibilities. Never before has there been such a rich opportunity for potential students. Flexibility, mobility, accessibility, affordability, a safe educational space, interactivity, and self-discipline await students who are ready to take advantage of the world of learning online.