With a global pandemic having forced many schools to close their campuses, most students have had to continue learning over the internet. At the start of this situation, many were skeptical of the entire online learning process, doubting that it would be an effective replacement for classroom based learning.
This skepticism was warranted. With many students and teachers having never experienced any form of online learning, it makes sense that parents would be doubtful.
However, with over a year now having passed since the beginning of the pandemic, online learning has undoubtedly proven its benefits. It has allowed many educational institutions to continue offering their services in a safe environment.
The fact that online learning was already so developed has made the transition to it much easier, without it many would have likely missed an entire year of education.
With online learning now having proven itself, we will undoubtedly continue to see it used for many years to come, with it now being a genuine competitor to traditional classrooms. Here are some of the benefits it offers:
Not Bound by Geography
Access to the internet provides one with all the education they could ever need. No longer does one have to physically travel to a school in order to study, a computer with an internet connection can easily replace the classroom.
With an enormous variety of courses to choose from, online learning offers the chance to study whatever one desires, no matter where they are.
Prestigious higher education institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT have, in recent years, begun offering full online courses. These courses do not provide any college credits, but are still a great way to learn, as they have the same teachers and course materials as on campus classes. Courses with full certifications and degrees can also be found, to help one expand their skillset, and make their CVs more appealing to potential employers.
Online students typically have better communication with their instructors. Rather than having to find time in school to speak, students and teachers can simply communicate over email or IM.
This, coupled with the fact that online courses typically include more frequent assignments and homework, allows teachers to better track their students’ progress, and provide the necessary feedback to help them improve, rather than letting them struggle until it is too late.
With education becoming more expensive all the time, it is important to ensure students are having all their needs met, especially with higher education costing thousands of dollars these days. Sitting at the back of the classroom and not being able to find the time to actually speak with your instructors is a waste of both time and money.
Learning online and making full use of all the communication channels offered by the internet solves this problem, with teachers and students being able to communicate far more effectively, and efficiently.
Students in traditional schools can often struggle to manage their time. Schools tend to follow very rigid schedules, with little room for flexibility, or to account for reasons that students may not be able to make it to class on time.
Students may live at a great distance from the school, they may have issues with their conveyance, or they might encounter more random problems, like traffic. These factors, which are almost never in the control of the student, can often make it difficult for them to make it to school on time, resulting in missed attendances.
This is almost never a factor in online learning. Online classes require no travel, and are most often taken from the comfort of your own home. Eliminating the need to travel makes managing time much easier, and also leads to students having more time for homework, revision, or other non-school related activities, for recreation.
Research has proven that recreational activities such as games, or art, or sports are as important for a child’s development as studying. The strict schedules followed my traditional schools often leave students with little to no time for recreation, a problem that is entirely solved by online learning.
Online learning requires the usage of software such as skype, or zoom for virtual classes, or things like dropbox and google drive for sharing assignments and projects. These skills can prove to be invaluable later on in life.
With many companies using virtual, or remote, teams, the ability to communicate effectively over the internet can be very attractive to prospective employers. Project management tools, online meeting software, and many other technological advancements are slowly, but surely, taking over the professional world, and proficiency in these will not only attract employers, it will also make you more effective once you enter the workforce.
Is Online Learning the Future?
It’s hard to say. While the skepticism surrounding online learning is warranted in some ways, it’s impossible to overlook all the advantages it offers. The internet has made so many things more convenient, why shouldn’t it do the same for education? Online learning has made its mark during the pandemic, and will likely stick around for a long, long time.