What makes online education different?

Apr, 2021 - by CMI

What makes online education different?

With the growing popularity of distance learning and the availability of various distance learning programs, many people wonder about the difference between traditional on-campus and online education. Basically, online education means that academic and other educational materials are communicated via the Internet. Traditional education, on the other hand, refers to the transfer of academic knowledge from a physical classroom to a student who has taken the course on his/her own. The main difference between the two lies in the form of communication. In online education, learners and their instructors exchange academic and other educational information over internet.

Online education refers to courses offered by virtual postsecondary institutions that are 100% online, excluding virtually open online classes. Online learning, or remote courses offered over  internet, is often compared with traditional classes taken within a physical school campus. Students participating in online learning have the same set of resources as those in traditional classes. They can choose their schedules, textbooks, other study materials, etc. Although they have the same set of resources, they do not have the experience of face-to-face interaction with other students. This experience is lost when a student chooses to work at a distance-learning institution.

A large part of the education process of an online learning program is spent on learning the material. Traditional schooling is much more time-intensive than online education. For instance, in traditional classroom settings, the pace of the discussions tends to pick up after a certain amount of time has passed. While In online learning, the interactions between the student and a teacher rarely happens unless the student is really interested in the topic of discussion. Also, in online learning, network connectivity issues are involved which too might lead to interruptions in communication.

Online education allows you to pursue your degree program from the convenience of your home or office. If you have a tight schedule, you can still complete your degree program from the comfort of your living room. Be it the location where the school is located, or the cost of the degree program, there are many parents who have opted in online education, for distance learning. This allows them to get the learning experience that they need while not disrupting their current lifestyle.

It has been proven that online education can be equally successful, if not more so, than traditional class settings. Part-time online students tend to perform worse than full-time students. This is because part-time students are not able to devote the amount of time necessary to engage in meaningful discussions. This is where internet comes to action.

An important aspect of distance learning is the ability to interact with one’s peers. A person can meet people from all over the world who share the same goals and dreams of becoming successful professionals. Through online education, one can learn from people who understand what they are trying to accomplish. The same resources are available in traditional classrooms, but not everyone has the opportunity to hear the experience of another student first-hand. Online courses allow a person to go through the curriculum, understand what it means, and participate in group discussions and debates without being in the same room as their peers.

Distance learning can also be a more affordable option for the student who already has a full-time job. Many traditional campuses now offer online education as a part of their student programs. This allows students to earn an associate's, bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree without having to leave the job that they already have in place. This option is especially appealing for those working in high-end jobs that typically require advanced degrees.

Students enrolled in an online degree program will have access to the same faculty members, as they would in a traditional classroom. Teachers will be able to email assignments, provide feedback, grade papers, answer questions, and collaborate with students on projects.

There are people who still feel that traditional methods of educating are the only real way of learning. They argue that students cannot be forced to do extra work, and therefore it does not matter how they learn. However, if one asks an online education student how much extra work they are willing to put in, it will be found that they are tired of being under pressure. Online students already know that they have no choice but to work hard, because an online education does not offer them any option to skip any work.

The only difference is that students have the opportunity to set their own pace and to complete the work at their own speed. This gives them an increased sense of self-worth, and it makes them more interested in pursuing a goal that may be far more challenging than completing assignments the traditional way. Online education also allows students to expand their horizons and explore new academic possibilities that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue.

The new norm in education is an increase in the use of online learning resources. The latest global health emergency COVID-19 has prompted a greater use of internet-based learning tools in all areas of education. Across the globe, educational institutions are seeking out online learning opportunities to carry on the process of teaching students. The internet has now become a major tool of learning.

It's no secret that many students find traditional methods of learning boring or difficult. The rigor and repetitive nature of many classroom activities simply intimidate many students. Adding online classes to the curriculum helps to mitigate these feelings of boredom and helps students retain more of what they've already learned. Online learning offers students different lesson materials that may include reading, writing, math, art, music and more - which are all taught through various online platforms.

The need for such a system is clear in light of the recent threat presented by the coronavirus epidemic. Even a cursory search on the internet will yield many results on how to best deal with the current pandemic. Most online learning systems focus on instructing students how to cope with the current situation. The concept of virtual learning makes it very easy to implement this approach and it is used in nearly every realm of teaching - from universities to junior high schools to community colleges.

The advantage of online learning systems lies not only in easy adaptation to the current study methodologies but also to the fact that there are no limitations to the types of media that may be used. In fact, there are many advantages of using non-traditional modalities to supplement traditional classroom methods. Traditionalists tend to be wary of such innovations but there are many benefits to be gained. These include:

Ease of access: Online learning modalities are easy to access. This is an important advantage when it comes to dealing with a highly motivated group of students. Unlike traditional classrooms where there is often a need to wait for a particular event to take place, online learning can take place anytime of the day and on any day - weekends included. This also eliminates the scheduling issues associated with traditional classroom teaching methods. When faculty members are able to spend more time dealing with individual students, the entire class can proceed at a faster pace.

Self-motivation: Another one of the many advantages of online classes and the use of non-traditional media are self-motivation. Students who have a solid grasp of the subject material will feel more engaged in their learning process. There are no deadlines to meet and there is no need to worry about getting along with a classroom instructor. Students are given flexibility to learn at their own pace and instructors are permitted to do as they please.

Enhanced communication: Internet has allowed a drastic growth in online education. This is particularly true with the advent of e-learning platforms such as KPI (keyboard interface) and web tablets. These devices enable students to interact with the material on a very much broader level. They can draw on visual aids, listen to the instructor's voice, manipulate various elements on the screen, submit answers, etc. The benefits of this new norm are easily understandable. It has reduced the cost of running an institution, it allows for greater communication between students and has created a completely new arena for learning.

So, the future may hold even greater advantages for remote learning and the use of web-based teaching tools and e-Learning platforms. In fact, this future may be called the ’lockdown era'. As the internet becomes more readily available, institutions may be less constrained by the existing set of rules. For example, the idea of having online libraries (a feature available on a number of universities today) may encourage faculty members to use their own computers rather than use their classroom computers. Furthermore, because latest technologies facilitate communication between students and faculty members at higher levels, it also facilitates cross-platform collaboration that would not have been possible before the advent of online learning.