What is online learning
There are many advantages of online learning as oppose to traditional learning. Online learning is one of the different types of ‘distance learning.’ Distance Learning is an umbrella-term encapsulating any learning that takes place remotely outside a traditional classroom.
There are several types of remote learning options available today, including; Online Learning, Tele-Courses, Correspondence Courses, CD-ROM Courses, etc.
In the past two decades, the internet has grown into the largest, most accessible information database. It has altered the way people interact, socialize, do business, shop, and even how they perceive knowledge and learning.
The potential of technology to drive transformation and evolution in the education sector has always been apparent. Online learning, also known as E-learning, is education that takes place over the internet; it is by far the most popular approach of the distance learning realm.
In recent years this form of education has dramatically evolved and is widely accepted. Within the past decade only, it has had a significant impact on higher education, and the trend is only increasing. Even before the pandemic, the global E-learning market was already seeing a massive annual global growth. It is expected to reach $336.98 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2018 to 2026.
Below are seven simple reasons/ advantages of online learning to validate that online education is better than conventional on-campus learning.
Convenient / Accessible
Online Learning has changed the face of traditional classrooms and made education more convenient and accessible than ever before. The most appealing advantages of online learning are that it allows students to choose a course structure that fits well into their lives instead of reorganizing their schedule.
As everything is available via the internet, retrieving classroom material and submitting work is convenient and straightforward. One can do it on their schedule as long as you meet the submission deadlines.
Online education has unlocked training opportunities for many who were traditionally bounded by certain obstacles. Remote access to the classroom has opened avenues for students balancing many duties; learners with children, full-time jobs, or both can study when their children are at daycares, asleep, or after completing job shifts.
Similarly, some people might have to move or travel often, and some might be bounded by long-distance commute due to a disability or some health issues. By reducing long commutes to the classroom to a walk to your computer or even mobile within the comfort of your home, online learning has made learning possible for students living in rural areas, those with disabilities or some health concerns, and those who frequently move or travel.
Advantages of online learning- Lower (Total) Costs
One of the many advantages of online learning is it costs less. Do you know that an average graduating student’s college debt is around an astounding $37,000?. College Education can cost a lot of money and be a burden to someone who is just initiating a career or has multiple responsibilities like having children.
Students must pay for hostel charges, commute, cafeteria meals, lab charges, and other random expenses along with the tuition. It all adds up to staggering figures.
Online education costs are lesser. However, an online course’s tuition fees can be just as much if not more than a regular on-campus course. One may argue that buying a computer or a decent internet connection is expensive but compares it to fuel and parking charges each month if you are driving to campus. Consider costs like eating meals at campus cafeteria vs. eating at home.
Along with the above, also add costs of daycare or baby sitter or any other house help you might need in case of being away from home. Some intangible costs are that of commute time etc.
With the online learning option, students only pay for course tuition. They can save money by avoiding many typical expenses, including lab fees, commuting costs, parking, hostels, etc.
advantages of online learning are not just done yet, flexibility is big one among them. Juggling school with work or family responsibilities can be challenging. It is not always easy or sometimes impossible to skip work or leave kids at home to attend a class. Online education offers great flexibility; students can choose to learn at the time that suits them best.
Students or learners who want to extend their academic learning while working or join back after a break benefit momentously from online learning. These students have work or family responsibilities that keep them busy. Hence flexibility is an essential requirement for them, which is why online education fits so well.
Online education mode gives you the flexibility to spend time with family, work, friends, or any other activity you like. Online education offers students the opportunity to study whenever it fits into their schedule, whether that’s in the early morning hours before the kids wake up, or while they are at school, or maybe for a few hours late at night. Also, working students no longer have to worry about missing class because of work or vice versa.
For people who make frequent business trips, students caring for others, or parents with small children, or those whose health prevents them from making it to campus regularly, this course delivery method makes learning more effective as it leads to greater emotional well-being and less stress.
Advantages of online learning- Diversity / Wider Choice
No matter what your desired field of study is, you can almost find an online program for everything. There are options for everyone from fine arts to big data analysis, from certificates and diplomas to degree level courses.
It is one of the great advantages of online learning that you can choose to apply to one from an accredited university or select an online course from platforms such as Coursera and EdX, some of which are even free.
You even have the opportunity to ‘test the waters’; by enrolling in a few introductory courses from diverse fields, you can judge the course contents and prospects, decide your area of interest and then go for a full-fledged program.
Of course, you can pick the program of your dreams in traditional education, but that may involve traveling away from home, probably living in a completely unknown city, and struggling in an extremely competitive learning environment.
Online education offers the chance to choose from great programs regardless of where the school is based. A growing number of colleges and universities are offering online programs for various levels and disciplines, and you can indeed find one that is just right for you.
Advantages of online learning- Instructor Availability
In a classroom setting, instructors must divide their time between all of their students. Usually, in colleges and universities, talking to a professor after class can be challenging. Yes, instructors have ofﬁce hours, but it’s often only an hour or two each week, with too many students waiting for attention.
Good online programs give you one-on-one access to experienced instructors whenever you need help. Web-based technologies make conversing with multiple students at once much more manageable. Professors can also enjoy the convenience; they can choose to interact online at night or during intermissions to address questions, leave comments, and more.
Unique/ Effective learning environment
Unique learning environment is also among great advantages of online learning. With an online course, you can study from the comfort of your home. Honestly, it’s not always easy to focus in class; sometimes your mind wanders, sometimes you’re tired, sometimes your study group wants to talk about fashion or a new mobile app rather than the problem at hand.
With online classes, it’s much easier to discipline yourself and focus on your work. You can restrict your environment. If your surroundings are noisy, you can use earphones. Your discussions happen online, meaning they won’t easily wander off-topic. Best of all is that you can choose to study at a time when you’re energetic.
If you are one of those students who struggle to concentrate, online classes might be the ideal solution.According to the “no significant difference” phenomenon, a majority of academic researchers believe that the quality and effectiveness of online learning is already equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction.
Advantages of online learning- Group communication & Networking
Often, students don’t take the time to get to know their fellow students, especially in large classes. They might be too busy or just plain shy. An online course can provide opportunities to get to know other students via bulletin boards, chat rooms, and mailing lists. Even if you chat online, it gives you a type of interaction with other people / other students that aren’t practical in the time-limited on-campus classroom.
Many times the web pages you visit in a course will be based in another country. What better place to find out about the works of Picasso than to go to Paris (virtually, of course)? What better way to learn about the Amazon rain forest or China’s history than to visit those places online?
If you participate in certain online events, you may even meet and make friends with someone in another country. With online education, you may get the chance to network with individuals from diverse backgrounds. In contrast, an on-campus program typically limits you to a small local region. These network connections can help open doors as both students and instructors continue their respective career journeys.
Online learning is evolving day by day. It is becoming such a dynamic industry with equally huge advantages of online learning. With Online Education, you can easily control many aspects of your study, which allows for a stress-free environment and a better grasp of concepts. Besides, fresh approaches are continually being developed to give students various ways to fashion their education into something that suits them, not others.
Online Education also gives such individuals a chance to complete a degree, which might have started a program but have not been able to continue for some reason. The future of online learning is promising and exciting as it opens many gateways.