Online Learning: The Latest Boom in Education
There was a time when we considered online education or e-learning a secondary form of education. It was the only option for those who cannot afford classroom education. However, the education industry is changing due to technology, as many other industries.
Even with technology, we still have a hard time finding time for family or personal activities, let alone for education. This is why online education is booming and online learning is becoming more important.
Why has Online Education become the need of the hour?
In today’s world, employers have huge expectations from employees and newly hires as they must be knowledgeable and have the best and latest skills. There is too much competition, so they must be prepared and confident in their skills.
Furthermore, it is never enough to have a single degree and carry on the workplace since this is a competitive world. With a hectic life and family to take care of, we don’t have the time to join a classroom and get a new degree. For situations like these, distance education is the perfect solution. Many companies encourage their employees to enroll in online courses and learn the desired skills.
In the United Stated of America, around 6.7 million students enroll in at least one online course in the year 2011. There was an increase of around 570,000 as compared to the previous year. This survey also found out that almost 77% of academic leaders claimed that the result of online education was either equal or superior to classroom education. 69% of these leaders even said that online courses were very important in their own education strategies.
10 Ways in which Online Learning turns out to be your best bet:
1. Online learning allows you to take any course without having to leave the comfort of your home. Therefore, if you feel you are lagging behind your colleagues in terms of a particular skill, you can always take an online course and improve that skill. In fact, about 46% of college-going students are also enrolled in at least one online course.
2. You can choose the online course that fits your schedule. Online courses are best for those who have a family or a job to take care of. This is because there is no time-constraint in an online course. You won’t have to worry about attendance as you can take a class when you are free. Around 71% of students believe that e-learning provides greater flexibility.
3. You will start learning immediately, within the first ten minutes of a lesson if you are doing this at home. This is because online courses offer information in small parts and eventually save up a lot of your precious time. According to a study by The Research Institute of America, online education can increase information retention rates by 60%!
4. Most of the time you get proper instruction materials online. They help you out when you are in doubt. Everything you need will be right in front of you always and you also have the freedom to come back to a certain topic as and when you want.
5. You won’t have to quit a job or get fired due to lack of skill anymore. This actually happens to almost 25% employees all over the world. E-learning provides the best learning opportunities and helps in preventing any extreme situations.
6. There is no need to worry about getting a good tutor while taking an online course. Around 64% of the full-time teachers at various colleges also teach distance education classes on the side. In a way, you get the best of everything – a guide to help you during your online studies and a tutor who you can email to ask questions about the course.
7. Taking an online course increases your chances of securing a better job. This is because online courses are designed in such a way that help you obtain certain skills. Over 42% of the Fortune 500 companies included use e-learning to instruct their employees and this is only going to increase with time.
8. Based on a study conducted by Britain’s Open University and CourseHero, around 48% of faculties who voted in the study believe that e-learning is quite essential to the current times we live in. If the teachers believe in online education, then we must believe it too.
9. You can boost up your skills and productivity by taking an online course. There is never harm in obtaining as much knowledge as you can. This only makes you even more desirable to employers.
10. Believe it or not, online learning is the eco-friendliest option when it comes to education. It consumes 90% less energy and the CO2 emissions per student also get decreased substantially. This is because online courses eliminate the need of a large of students sitting together in a small room.
Pros and Cons of Distance Education:
Convenience- If your goal is to learn a particular skill as fast as you can; there is no better option than distance learning. It gives you an ease of access and provides a convenient way to learn. No matter where you live, you just need to register for the course and get started with the study material or in some cases an internet connection.
Cost-effective- Online courses or distance learning courses are way cheaper than classroom courses. You can save up a lot of money while learning something new if you go for online learning.
Focused on employment- In comparison to classroom courses, online courses are more focused on getting you a job. They prepare you in the best way possible by making you practice. Some courses even offer employment options at the end or work with your work projects so that you can apply your education directly in at the job. They can increase your productivity by 50%.
Keeps you up with the current trend- Online courses always keep you updated with what is new in the market and what skills you absolutely need to acquire. While classroom courses have been out there for so long, we don’t even know when they were last upgraded. About 72% companies included in the study agree with this fact.
Tracks the students’ progress- Online courses have Learning Management Systems that keep you on track and check your progress automatically. This gives you an idea of where you stand in terms of knowledge.
*All the above statistics are based on recent studies conducted by Britain’s Open University and CourseHero.
Limited career options- You cannot exactly become a doctor or lawyer by taking online courses since you need to actually do some hands on work with the specific university.
You miss out on the “college experience”- If you do not attend a classroom course; you miss out on a lot of things that are important for those students right out of high school - the life of dorms, fraternities, etc.
No network for a person to person meeting- One of the best things about classroom programs is that you meet a lot of new people and create a network of your own. This may include professors, classmates, seniors or even alumni. Taking an online course does not guarantee meeting new people unless you join the forums or chat provided by the university.
Online learning is a great option for those who do not have the time to take a classroom course. When you want to add a new skill to your résumé and make yourself more desirable in the market, online courses are the way to go. You can take the course even in the middle of the night. All you need is the will to learn, and you will be successful. Distance learning is also a good option for you if you are more of a bookworm and prefer learning things in the traditional way. Online education is just another route to strengthen your skills.