Before online education, the field of higher education has evolved and grown over the past 100, 50 and even 10 years. One particular development which has transformed higher education in recent decades is online learning. But are the degrees conferred by online institutions as credible and reputable as those conferred by conventional traditional institutions? Are they worth your time or just a fad that will pass with time? While stereotypes may once have existed about online degrees, experts agree they are now a valuable and vital part of the higher education landscape.
The Prevalence of Online Education
As with all forms of education, online learning has evolved over the years with the introduction of new technologies including mobile internet, augmented reality, podcasting, and learning analytics. Gamification, user-created content, library digitization, eBooks, online video, virtual classrooms, the cloud, tablet computing, learning through social platforms, MOOCs and wearable technology have further changed the face of online learning. Each of these changes has improved and enhanced both the delivery methods itself and the student learning experience.
Credibility of Online Education
- There’s no denying that there were stigmas and misperceptions about online learning in its infancy. However, a growing body of evidence — and newfound understanding of its effectiveness — points to its profound usefulness for today’s students and society at large.
- Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, and there’s the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, so there’s no need to give anything up. Studying online teaches you vital time management skills, which makes finding a good work-study balance easier.
- In a space as vast and wide as the internet, there are infinite skills and subjects to teach and learn. A growing number of universities and higher education schools are offering online versions of their programs for various levels and disciplines. From music composition to quantum physics, there are options for every type of student. Studying your program online is also a great option for getting an official certificate, diploma, or degree without physically setting foot on a university campus.
- Online education enables you to study or teach from anywhere in the world. This means there’s no need to commute from one place to another, or follow a rigid schedule. On top of that, not only do you save time, but you also save money, which can be spent on other priorities. The virtual classroom is also available anywhere there’s an internet connection, and a good way to take advantage of this is to travel.
- Online classes tend to be smaller than conventional class size. Most of the time, online learning platforms only allow one student at a time, and in almost all cases, this allows for greater interaction and more feedback between you and your tutor.
- There’s often access to very diverse material such as videos, photos, and eBooks online as well, and tutors can also integrate other formats like forums or discussions to improve their lessons. And this extra content is available at any moment from anywhere, which will offer you a more dynamic and tailor-made education.
These are only a few reasons to choose an online education, and why 90 percent of students today think that online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom experience. Every student must assess their unique situation and decide according to their needs and goals, and while this alternative to traditional education is not for everyone, it’s still a convenient option with virtually endless options for international students all over the world.
Also published on Medium.