Online Education Is on the Rise: 6 Implications for College Students

online education

Distance learning is not a new concept, yet it became much more popular today. Nowadays, it is called online education or e-learning and grows exponentially every year.

There are more courses and programs now offering distance education. Almost any respected university or college offers partial or full online degrees.

Overall, the internet and advances in technology made knowledge accessible in all terms. Many great platforms are now widely accessible – from digital libraries, professional services like to online courses on a range of subjects.

What exactly does all of this mean for students? What is the future of online learning or online education? Here are some implications on this matter.

The Sphere Is Going to Grow Even More

It is hard to say whether e-learning will ever fully replace traditional face-to-face education – probably not.

However, numbers speak for themselves. In the last decade, the number of students enrolled in such programs as increased. In 2016 only in the USA, over 6 million students were enrolled in at least one digital class. This number corresponds to 1% of all students.

There are several reasons for the popularization of digital learning:

It is a cheaper option for both students and colleges. A learner can save up a lot of tuition and accommodation costs;

It helps colleges to get students enrolled even when the overall numbers are dropping;

It makes higher education accessible to many groups of people. Those struggling in terms of finances cannot attend traditional classrooms. The same goes for geographical and other restrictions which do not matter in case of online learning;

It is more dynamic and incorporates various teaching techniques;

It is convenient for those professionals who want to follow a course and get more qualified while still working.

Overall, it is believed that e-learning will be a fully integrated part of the curriculum in many institutions soon.

It Requires Great Organizational Skills

One of the main arguments critics of e-education repeat is that it is harder for students to follow. Some people strongly believe that it is not as good as a traditional class.

The research shows that students enrolled in digital classes performed “substantially worse” than their peers that follow face-to-face curriculum.

The main issue here is concentration and focus. A lot of students tend to multitask or get distracted while following online classes. After all, there is no one to see and control what you are doing. Some might listen to music, watch some TV-show on Netflix, or scroll social media feed.

Thus, the problem is not in e-learning itself but rather in self-discipline and motivation. It does require much more concentration, power of will, and taking an effort to manage your online education. However, any type of getting a degree is based on the same principles.

It Is Proven to Be Effective

Despite all the critique, digital courses have proven their efficiency.

These options are more flexible and can be both synchronous and asynchronous. It means that people can learn on their own terms. They get knowledge when they have time, which is a great advantage for those concentrated on work as well.

According to statistics, students who used digital learning have noticed that the effectiveness of the study process has improved (63% of respondents). They also admitted better preparation for classes and reduced stress caused by the academic curriculum.

Of course, to be effective, such a program should be designed carefully and provide insights and in-depth knowledge.

It Will Increase Individualization

Face-to-face communication with tutors has many benefits. Yet, it is not always possible to get an individual approach. E-learning is resolving this problem. The programs are getting more individualized, and this tendency is believed to remain.

A person can now learn at one’s own pace, stop it, rewind or listen to each part again. It is not possible with traditional classes.

There is also an opportunity to ask the professor online directly, without. And direct communication with the lecturer increases academic efficiency.

It Enriches Curricula

One of the greatest benefits of e-learning is that it allows different teaching styles and techniques to be used during the course. It also offers the opportunity to use all kinds of media and digital materials, tests, and tasks.

The lectures can include video, music, presentation, and other types of visual and other representations. All of this makes the class more exciting and works with different types of memory.

Although traditional classes also use digital resources, it is much harder to implement them all together in a classroom.

It Is a Greener Option

This point may not be your first thought, but online education is more environmentally-friendly than traditional programs.

Students tend to travel home and to college, which has a significant impact on nature. But if they are enrolled in a digital program, they are more likely to travel less and stay at home.

It is better for the environment, and even a small reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is great. Also, think about the numbers concerning the saved paper…

In Summary

Online education continues to grow as an industry. There are many reasons why. The rise is mainly due to its cost-effectiveness and accessibility for a wide variety of people. It makes knowledge more dynamic and global.

For now, more than 30% of learners have experience with at least one digital course in their studies in college or university. Mainly, the experience is positive and proves the efficiency of such programs.

Yet, this approach requires greater self-discipline, concentration, and motivation. At the same time, it incorporates many teaching styles and interactive techniques. It makes the program more flexible and interactive, as well as individualized.

Overall, e-learning has more advantages than disadvantages, so it is here to stay.

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