Higher Education and Online Learning October 2022 – The Benefits of Online Learning

Why are students flocking to the online learning environment? With millions of students enrolled in schools and universities online (and that number was growing 30% a year even before the pandemic hit), there are plenty of compelling arguments for attending a cyberclass.
1. Students can “attend” a class anytime, from anywhere. This means that parents can take care of their children and then sit down in class; working students can take classes regardless of their work schedule, people traveling for business or pleasure can take classes from anywhere in the world with internet access.
2. Online learning enables student-centered teaching approaches. Each student has their own way of learning that suits them best. Some learn visually, others are more successful when they “learn by doing”.
3. The course material is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students have the ability to read and re-read lectures, discussions, explanations and commentaries. Often the material spoken in the classroom misses students due to any number of distractions, missed classes, fatigue or boredom.
4. In an online environment, class attendance is only evident if the student actually participates in class discussion. This increases student interaction and diversity of opinion because everyone has a say, not just the most talkative.
5. Online instructors have practical knowledge and can be from anywhere in the world. This allows students to be exposed to knowledge that cannot be learned from books and to see how classroom concepts are applied in real-life business situations.
6. Using the Internet to attend lessons, research information and communicate with other students builds skills in the use of technology this will be essential for workers in the 21st century business community who work with colleagues around the world and across multiple time zones.
7. Participating online is much less intimidating than “in class”. Anonymity provides students with an equal playing field undisturbed by biases caused by seating arrangements, gender, race, and age. Students can also think longer about what they want to say and add their comments when they are ready. In a traditional classroom, the conversation could have gone far beyond the point where the student wants to comment.
8. Since online institutions often offer “chat rooms” for informal conversations between students, where student biographies and out-of-class discussions can take place, there appears to be an increased bond and camaraderie compared to traditional classroom environments.
9. The online environment makes instructors more accessible. Students can speak openly with their teachers through online chats, emails, and newsgroup chats, without waiting for office hours which may not be convenient. This communication option helps improve contact between instructors and students.
10. Online course development allows for a wide range of content. Students can access the school library from their PC for research articles, e-book content, and other materials without worrying that the material is already “checked out.”

Although bricks and mortar institutions will never be eliminated,
it’s easy to see why an increasing number of people are attending classes
in the cyber world.

11. Students often feel that they can actually listen to other students’ comments. Because everyone has a chance to contribute, students are less irritated by those who “contribute too much” and can seek clarification on any comments that are unclear.
12. Over 75% of colleges and universities in the United States offer online degree programs, with online degrees as respected as “on the job” degrees.
13. Online classrooms also facilitate team learning by providing chat rooms and discussion groups for meetings and working together. This eliminates the hassle of conflicting schedules, finding a meeting location, and dividing up work to review between meetings.
14. Students often say that online learning allows them to attend classes when they are wide awake and attend in convenient time slots, rather than rigid two- or four-hour blocks once or twice a week.
15. Because there are no geographical barriers to online learning, students can find a diversity of course materials that may not be available where they live or work. This is especially true for vocational training such as medical billing training or shopping training and for students in remote rural areas who cannot support colleges or vocational training centers.

While “bricks and mortar” institutions will never be eliminated, it is easy to see why an increasing number of people are taking courses in the cyberworld. There may be reasons of accessibility, flexibility or quality, all of which are imperative and contribute to the attractiveness of this mode of learning.

Information provided by WorldWideLearn.

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