What are Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning?
What are Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning?

Online classes are typically a mix of video recordings or live lectures supplemented with readings and assessments that students can complete on their own time. But nothing is typical about education in 2020 as the coronavirus has forced a sudden migration to online learning with little time to prepare for it. Below we'll examine some of the benefits this exciting education provides to such students as well as the disadvantages that affect student life.

What is Online Learning?

Online education is a type of educational instruction that is delivered via the internet to students using their home computers. During the last decade, online degrees and courses have become popular alternatives for a wide range of nontraditional students, including those who want to continue working full-time or raising families. Most of the time, online degree programs and courses are offered via the host school's online learning platform, although some are delivered using alternative technologies.

Although there are subtle dissimilarities, the main difference between online and traditional learning is the fact that online education liberates the student from the usual trappings of on-campus degree programs — including driving to school, planning their schedule around classes, and being physically present for each sequence of their coursework.

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What are The Advantages of Online Learning?

1. Flexibility

Students have the freedom to juggle their careers and school because they aren't tied down to a fixed schedule. In a traditional classroom setting, class meeting times are set, and the student has no power over this, forcing them to work their schedules around these dates. Most people who choose online learning tend to have other commitments and prefer this mode of learning as it gives them power over how they will delegate their time towards their different projects.

2. Reduced Costs

Online education can cost less due to a variety of reasons. For example, there is no cost for commuting. Assorted costs that are related to transport, such as fuel, parking, car maintenance, and public transportation costs don't affect the online student.

3. Networking Opportunities

Online education also provides students with the chance to network with peers across nations or even different continents. This often leads to other opportunities in terms of collaboration with other individuals in the implementation of a project. At the same time, it makes them culturally sensitive and able to fit into other environments easily given their exposure to other cultures.

4. Documentation

All the information that you will need will be safely stored in an online database. This includes things like live discussion documents, training materials, and emails. This means that if there's ever anything that needs to be clarified, the student will be able to access these documents fast, saving valuable time. This is especially useful for individuals that need to carry out research for a project and submit their findings to a panel.

5. Increased Instructor - Student Time

Students in traditional classrooms may not get the personalized attention they need to have concepts clarified. Although class sizes are small at CCA, most colleges have classes of students that number in the hundreds. This is not a problem for this type of education because online guided discussions and personal talk time with their professors and lecturers are a hallmark of online classes. This increases the chances of a student performing well due to the time their instructors give them. This also enhances their problem-solving and communication skills, as well as knowing how to defend their arguments to superiors if needed.

6. Access to Expertise

An online college education might give students access to specialized degree courses that may not be available in an easily accessible or local institution of learning. Online classes allow the sharing of expertise that helps more people have access to education that is not readily available in certain geographic locations.

This type of education has grown over the last few years and has experienced mainstream acceptance. With an online class, you get to control your learning environment, which ultimately helps you develop a deeper understanding of your degree course. New models of learning are always springing up in the market, providing students with varied opportunities to fashion their education into something that fits them, not the other way round. It also provides individuals an opportunity to finish a degree they might have started and been unable to continue with for one reason or another. The future of online degree education looks promising and opens up education to a larger section of the population than ever before.

What to Expect in an Online Course?

Online learning can take all sorts of shapes and sizes. So, what to expect varies widely depending on the type of course or program you seek.

If you’re looking to gain basic knowledge of a specific topic, a free online course may be the answer. These are more likely to be self-paced, which often means less direct guidance from an instructor. Offerings are available in virtually any subject area that comes to mind, including both soft and hard skills.

You may consider a paid online program offering a credential if you’re looking to make a more dramatic career change or advance into a managerial role (or help members of your team move into new internal positions or gain new skill sets). This credential may be a certificate, professional certification, or even a full online degree, among others.

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What are The Disadvantages of Online Learning?

Photo: KnowInsiders
Photo: KnowInsiders

1. Inability To Focus On Screens

For many students, one of the biggest challenges of online learning is the struggle with focusing on the screen for long periods of time. With online learning, there is also a greater chance for students to be easily distracted by social media or other sites. Therefore, it is imperative for the teachers to keep their online classes crisp, engaging, and interactive to help students stay focused on the lesson.

2. Technology Issues

Another key challenge of online classes is internet connectivity. While internet penetration has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, in smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem. Without a consistent internet connection for students or teachers, there can be a lack of continuity in learning for the child. This is detrimental to the education process.

3. Sense Of Isolation

Students can learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. However, in an online class, there are minimal physical interactions between students and teachers. This often results in a sense of isolation for the students. In this situation, it is imperative that the school allow for other forms of communication between the students, peers, and teachers. This can include online messages, emails, and video conferencing that will allow for face-to-face interaction and reduce the sense of isolation.

4. Teacher Training

Online learning requires teachers to have a basic understanding of using digital forms of learning. However, this is not the case always. Very often, teachers have a very basic understanding of technology. Sometimes, they don’t even have the necessary resources and tools to conduct online classes.

To combat this, it is important for schools to invest in training teachers with the latest technology updates so that they can conduct their online classes seamlessly.

5. Manage Screen Time

Many parents are concerned about the health hazards of having their children spend so many hours staring at a screen. This increase in screen time is one of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of online learning. Sometimes students also develop bad posture and other physical problems due to staying hunched in front of a screen.

A good solution to this would be to give the students plenty of breaks from the screen to refresh their mind and their body.

What are the impacts of Covid-19 on Online Learning?

Photo: KnowInsiders
Photo: KnowInsiders

Imagine the impact the coronavirus has had on education. At one point it’s thought that nearly 1.5 billion children in 186 countries were affected by school closures. This forced schools to adapt quickly in an effort to provide ‘education as usual online. The same is true of colleges and universities all over the world, with digital platforms becoming the new classrooms virtually overnight.

Research suggests that students retain 25-60% more material via e-learning compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. This is explained by the fact that students learn faster online, with e-learning requiring 40-60% less time than a classroom.

Flexibility and great student experience

‘There is a minimum expectation that has come from the classroom of what students need to know and learn, but online education allows you to take this further,’ said Conor Motyer, ACCA course director at Learnsignal. ‘It gives students not only the flexibility to study and approach learning in the most efficient way, but it allows them to do so at a time that suits them.’

Online learning is focused on a student’s experience, continued Motyer. ‘We’re able to collate all the data we have of different students and then tailor the experience for individuals, not only in a way that allows the student to be as engaged as possible, their study to be as effective as possible but also in the way that we know leads to the best results. And it gives you all of this at your fingertips whenever you want and wherever you are in the world.’

Online learning is engaging and innovative

Online classes can be recorded, so you don’t have to take as many notes and you can pay more attention during the lesson. New technology can also make the lessons more engaging and interesting, with visualizations, videos, live quizzes, chats, and group work among some.

Online learning has come a long way from online PowerPoints

‘Many people still think of the old-style e-learning format when they think of online learning, which can put many people off, when actually, while you may still see some of the old-fashioned ways of doing things – clicking through PowerPoint presentations, for example – online learning is now so much more than that,’ said Tanya Worsely FCA, Head of International Markets at Kaplan.

‘It’s designed to be really engaging and interactive, as much as sitting in a face-to-face classroom. It also means we can respond to events such as Covid-19 with very little interruption to studies. It’s an environment that a student can tailor to themselves, while also interacting with other students all over the world doing the same qualification.’

Online learning is not isolated

‘You might be learning remotely, but you’re not learning alone’ says Moneeza Siddiqui, center head – SKANS Ecampus, SKANS School of Accountancy ‘We try to make the experience, not an isolated one, which is a key concern many students initially have about online learning.’ We aim to make study support highly engaging and customized for individual students, involving tutor teams and support teams to help them stay on track and achieve their study and exam goals.

Online saves times

Online education is more accessible. There’s no commuting to class. You can jump out of bed and join a lesson. This can give you more time to study and plan your day outside of learning commitments, and if you decide to relocate to a different city or even country – you can still continue your studies uninterrupted.

Is an Online Degree Right for You?

If you are considering whether an online graduate degree is a right choice for you, be sure to consider the benefits online learning has to offer. For students who are faced with the challenge of balancing work, family, and education, an online master’s degree can be an ideal solution. Further, pursuing an online degree can prepare students for career advancement and showcase key skills to potential employers.

By earning a master’s degree—no matter the format—you set yourself up to earn significantly more in your lifetime than bachelor’s degree holders. You’ll also gain access to more job options, given that by 2022, 18 percent of jobs will require a master’s degree. Learning online builds on those benefits and helps prepare you for today’s globalized workforce.

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