· A research conducted by Babson Survey Research Group reveals that students taking at least one distance learning course has increased by 3.7% in 2014.
· According to statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, 12.5% of students in the United States were enrolled exclusively in online courses whereas 13.3% were enrolled in at least one online course in 2012.
· The growth of online learning has been fuelled by the increasing need of professional education, certifications, and continuing education programs.
· Approximately 3.5 million students were enrolled in online programs in 2006 (Babson Survey Group and The Sloan Consortium).
· 57% of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes of online education as the same, or better than on-campus programs (Sloan Survey 2003).
So why are some students and teachers still reluctant to accept distance education? A number of questions often arise when it comes to online learning. Students doubt the authenticity of online programs. Do online programs offer the same level of quality as traditional programs? Are they accepted by employers? These are just a few of the questions that hold back students from adopting this new way of learning.
Why Choose Online Learning?
You didn’t hear your alarm go off! Oh no, you are late for the class! You probably can’t make it through the rush hour and get there on time. Well in an online course, you wouldn’t need to worry about being late or missing a class. Online learning gives you the kind of flexibility you wouldn’t find in the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom environment. Here are a few more benefits of online learning:
· Flexibility and Convenience
Study according to your own time and schedule. If you are working, you can easily manage your educational pursuit without having to compromise on your job. In an online program, there is no need to study at a fixed time. This means you can conveniently manage your commitments and study whenever you have the time.
· Individualized Attention
In large classrooms, it becomes difficulty to receive individualized attention. Teachers find it difficult to respond and interact with students individually. This ultimately affects the academic performance of a student. On the other hand, in an online classroom, teachers respond to the academic needs of students on individualized basis. This allows them to provide more attention to students in need of help.
· Low Costs
Expensive education is one of the biggest reasons why so many students are unable to attend college. Although loans are available, the overall expenditure may blow your budget. Did you know textbook and travelling costs add so much to the overall costs of enrolling in a program? This is one burden you won’t have to bear in an online program. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. No books and other reading materials may be needed. And of course, you don’t have to worry about travelling to class every day, which helps you save on gas money.
· Variety of Program Offerings
You can pursue undergraduate, graduate, and even post doctorate degrees online in a variety of academic disciplines. Nursing, arts, teaching, business, engineering, fashion, medical sciences, and management are just a few of the areas of study available online. Alongside the traditional college programs, online schools are also offering short courses, diplomas, and certificate programs. The demand for short career programs online has increased as more working individuals are looking for credentials that will help improve their career prospects.
· Suitable Learning Environment
The worse thing about trying to get to class on time is rushing through traffic, finding a decent parking space, missing out on family time, and the physical exertion that comes with it. What if you don’t have to do any of that? Wouldn’t it be great? In a distance learning program, you can study from the comfort of your home, or during your free time at work, or while sitting in a bus or any place that suits you.
The coursework of an online program is covered with the help of videos, tutorials, online lectures, classroom conferencing, and e-books. You don’t have to worry about surprise quizzes, or trying to remember what the teacher just said. You can replay a lecture, watch it as many times as you need, and search for additional online materials with a few simple clicks. Please remember that the coursework may vary a little from college to college. Some online schools have their own learning software programs that you may have to download.
· Career Advancement
Job advancement requires additional academic credentials but you don’t have the time to attend on-campus classes, so what do you do? Consider enrolling in an online program! Many employers encourage their employees to seek advanced degrees and credentials that will help them boost their job prospects. With the ever-increasing competition in the corporate world, it has become important to constantly update your career skills and knowledge to not just survive but also excel.
· Credit Transferability
If you wish to take summer classes but can’t due to a summer job or being too far away from college, online learning is the solution for you. You can earn college credits by enrolling and passing online courses. This will help you save time, acquire college credits, and have these transferred to another college.
Is Online Learning the Right Option For You?
An online degree program can be right for you if you have a job you can’t quit, or you’re a full-time parent and want to go to college, or you just can’t afford the cost of traditional, campus-based degrees. Online learning is flexible and can be tailored to suit a whole range of individual needs.
However, this mode of learning comes with its own limitations. You must be disciplined and self-motivated to study without a teacher present. If you prefer social interaction and enjoy studying in the company of others, online learning may not be for you.