Benefits of Online Learning [Methods & Courses Included]

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Over the past couple of years, the number of people who have shifted from classroom to online education has increased rapidly. Online classes give you learning opportunities without the need to leave the comfort of home. But what are the benefits of online learning, and is it better than the traditional system we’ve all been used to? This article will give you some answers.

Online vs Traditional Education

Online education is a form of distance learning and it takes place over the internet. It can be led by a teacher, or students can work individually. The lessons can be delivered using text, videos, or images, but interactive activities can also be included. Traditional education, on the other hand, occurs in a classroom, which makes peer interaction easier. The teacher is also able to constantly monitor students’ engagement. Both online and traditional learning aims to provide knowledge to the learners but they use different ways to do so.

  • Pros and Cons of Online Learning

Some of the pros of online learning are that they are more flexible in terms of location and time management. They are more affordable and allow access to didactic material at all times. But students visiting online college classes may struggle academically, as they may find it difficult to motivate themselves and preserve their self-discipline and are more prone to distractions.

  • Pros and Cons of Traditional Education

In-person classes allow for better social interaction, which makes it easier for students to work in groups. However, it costs more money and time, and it is not flexible in terms of when and where the class will be held. The didactic materials are more expensive, too, as video material is not always accessible.

DID YOU KNOW: Online education is a growing trend. Since the pandemic and the resulting public health crisis started, the number of students enrolled in some form of online distance learning has grown immensely. In 2020, 84% of graduate students enrolled in college degree programs, and since the same year, 98% of universities now have classes online.

Online Learning Methods

There are several learning methods used in online classes. The choice mainly depends on the topic and the student’s requirements. Online learning can use various tools for students’ engagement and can imitate real classrooms, having strict rules about attendance, but they can also be self-paced and offer greater flexibility.

Online learning methods are categorized into 4 main groups:

  • Asynchronous Online Courses

These types of courses are often referred to as self-paced courses because students are allowed to go through the lectures at their own pace. The difference between asynchronous online learning and classroom learning is that lessons are pre-recorded and available for visiting and revisiting at any time. That makes these types of courses an excellent choice for introverted students or those who cannot regularly attend scheduled sessions.

Materials, such as presentations (often with voice-over instructions) are also a frequent teaching medium for this kind of course. There’s also the possibility of teacher/student interaction in the form of virtual office hours, email communication, or scheduled weekly/ monthly “check-in” meetings.

  • Synchronous Online Courses

Synchronous instruction takes place in real-time, replicating a traditional class as closely as possible. These types of courses come in many forms, and the topics range from data entry courses to teaching plumbing skills.

The most common synchronous form is the virtual classroom, which happens when the students access the chosen platform at the same date and time as their teacher, who proceeds with delivering the lecture, demonstrations, or other planned activity. As the lecture is live, students are able to interact in real-time, asking questions or joining discussion sessions.

Attendance is usually very important in synchronous courses, but professors also post notes and lecture materials for those unable to attend. They use combined tools and technology in order to satisfy every learner’s needs. Streaming video platforms, live chats, and web conferencing tools are some of the ways to support this type of real-life communication.

  • Hybrid or Blended Online Courses

Hybrid courses combine various aspects of both synchronous and asynchronous ways of teaching. They combine the benefits of online learning in higher education with more traditional learning methods.

Students have scheduled live classes several times during the semester, but all the additional course materials are delivered using pre-recorded lectures and presentations. Students are often required to study a particular topic by themselves and get in touch with the professor in a live class.

These types of courses are usually used for soft skills training, focusing on person-to-person interactions, but are also great for teaching certain computer skills, such as graphic design. They may also be used for students who are training to become teachers themselves.

  • Competency-Based Online Courses

Competency-based allows students to acquire a degree by demonstrating what they know and can do, instead of attending a typical course that includes exams, projects, and various types of assignments. This is just another of the benefits of online learning for adults; it can help you get a certificate for the skills you already have.

It is a self-paced study course but as opposed to the asynchronous method, this one doesn’t involve pre-recorded lessons or other lecturing materials. Both the student and the professor take part in the learning process, making use of books, web-based documents, and fieldwork experience. This helps learners to develop and refine their skills, as well as to decide when competency has been achieved.

Competency-based learning is used at many faculties in order to allow students who are already working in their field to get credit for their skills, so they can be eligible to use those credits and obtain the respective degree.

Delivering e-Learning Methods

There are several ways e-learning can be implemented:

  • General Learning Management Systems

Learning Management Systems (LMS) is a term used for the software that is used to create and provide access to online programs. They serve as a platform for online content, which involves both synchronous and asynchronous courses, classroom management, etc.

There are many choices when selecting an LMS. They vary according to price, connectivity, and the type of methodologies they support.

  • Virtual Classrooms

This type of classroom requires both the professor and the students to access the learning platform at the same time. It creates an online learning environment that allows real-time interaction between tutors and learners. Whether you’re learning a new language or attending an accounting course, this combination of teaching methods can be a great option.

Some of the benefits of virtual online education are that participants can make use of various tools (videoconferencing, whiteboard, live chat, breakout rooms, etc.) in order to present the learning material, as well as to implement peer and individual activities.

The teacher here acts as a moderator who guides the other participants through the whole learning process, encouraging students’ active participation and discussion.

  • Gamification Learning Management Systems

The term gamification means the application of games or game components in environments that do not originally include these types of elements. As students nowadays tend to get bored by the traditional schooling methods, teachers are obliged to search for alternative ways to motivate and engage online students and make the learning process more productive.

By introducing games into the process of teaching, professors convey the message that the traditional way of teaching could, indeed, be converted into a fun experience and that the internet is not only a source of entertainment but of constructive learning, as well.

DID YOU KNOW: Online learning effectiveness research has shown that gamification participants score 14% higher in skill-based tests. In addition to this, gamification statistics show that 89% of the survey respondents claim that, if they are to participate in a task that is gamified, they would be more eager to participate and more competitive.

Benefits of Online Learning

Even though most of us are used to traditional education and all the positive aspects it has, there are a lot of benefits that only an online course can provide – for example, its convenience and affordability. Here is a list of some of its advantages:

Advantages of Online Learning

  • It is a very efficient way of delivering lectures online
  • The courses and lecture materials can be accessed from anywhere and at any time convenient for you
  • It promotes an active and independent online learning experience
  • It is very flexible in terms of time, so you can manage all your other activities and achieve a good school-life balance
  • More adults proceed to continue education if their chosen course’s classes are online
  • You still have the option of interacting with instructors and other learners
  • The audio/video instructions can be played and replayed as many times as the student needs, which is very helpful, especially for understanding the stem classes’ material
  • You will enhance your technical literacy
  • You can also improve your self-motivation and self-discipline

Benefits wouldn’t exist without their counterpart. So, here is also a list of some of the cons of online learning:

Disadvantages of Online Learning

  • Issues with poor internet connection
  • The authenticity of students’ work can be questionable, as there is always the possibility that someone else might have done their assignment
  • Usually, the assessment questions are knowledge-based and may not be very practice-oriented
  • One of the challenges of online learning that students may experience is difficulty focusing
  • Some may even feel isolated as there is minimal interaction

Key Takeaways

Online education provides a more personal learning experience and is valued for its efficiency and flexibility.
The traditional teaching method, on the other hand, offers greater peer and teacher-student interaction, as students attend on-campus classes.
There are 4 main online learning methods: synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid, and competency-based.
Making usage of games when presenting new material or practicing already-taught material increases the students’ involvement and competitive attitude.

What Would Be the Best Choice for Your Children When It Comes to Online Education?

Many parents are concerned whether this new trend for online education will satisfy their children’s educational needs. It is true that in-person learning offers better peer and teacher interaction, but there are some benefits of online education that traditional classrooms can never provide, and online education statistics confirm this.

Parental Involvement

Parents can be more involved in their children’s education when they watch lectures online. While at a traditional school, parents are supposed only to check their homework and attend the occasional parent-teacher meetings, in an online school they can structure their child’s daily learning routine, monitor their attendance and progress, and consult with the teacher more frequently.

Personalized Learning

A traditional school’s curriculum doesn’t always meet every learner’s needs. Managing crowded classrooms makes it difficult for the teacher to pay attention to each student individually. One of the key benefits of online learning for students is that online education provides them with a better and more personalized learning experience, as teachers are able to adapt the instructions to each student’s specific interests and abilities. If needed, teachers can also provide one-on-one support via phone, mail, or virtual classroom.

Safe Learning Environment

While in regular schools students need to commute to school every day, now they can attend their classes from the comfort of their own homes. Studying from home is very convenient for both students and their parents, as they ensure that the learning environment is safe and free from peer pressure and bullying that sometimes occurs in a classroom.

DID YOU KNOW: There are numerous online-learning sites that serve to provide students with course-specific study resources. One of the best-rated ones is Course Hero – a platform that gives learners access to study guides, class notes, and step-by-step explanations, helping them achieve better comprehension and become more successful students.

You can read the full Course Hero review here.

Wrap Up

The online education market can effectively satisfy your tuition needs if you’re looking for lessons that you can easily integrate into your daily schedule. Not only does online education provide great flexibility and independence from location, but it also prepares students for their future careers, teaching them skills that they will need at work, like self-discipline and time management.

FAQ

What is online education?

A form of education that is managed and delivered via the internet, using an online platform. It still involves student-teacher interaction as traditional education does, but it offers a more personalized approach to teaching the material and is often more effective than classroom instruction.

When did online education start?

In 1989, when the University of Phoenix began using CompuServe. In the 2000s, businesses saw this as an opportunity to begin using the e-learning method to train their employees.

What are some similarities between online and traditional education?

Regardless of how you attend your classes, you will still have the obligation to attend them, participate, and study for the exams. Teacher-student interaction is still important, and students are provided with course materials and homework assignments.

What is a good platform for teachers for creating e-courses?

Today, there are many great platforms that teachers can use to create e-courses that are well structured and intuitive. One such is iSpring which has been a market leader for over 20 years because it offers a range of features make creating e-courses a breeze.

You can read the full review of iSpring here, and find similar alternatives here.

How does online learning affect students?

Although there are many benefits of online learning, some students find concentrating during classes difficult and struggle with preserving their motivation and self-discipline.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I am curiosity-driven and detail-oriented so you will often find me researching the latest trends, experimenting with search engine optimization, or testing software. As a keen observer of content, my teammates often like to joke that "noting escapes the eye of Beti."

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