Technological advances make it possible for students to receive or augment their education through course completion at an online university. With the growth we’re now accustomed to in Internet technology today, e-learning is fast becoming a part of most college programs. Benefits of such instruction include individualization, convenience and equity, as well as direct instructor contact and social concerns.
Because students learn at different rates and in different ways, individualization is a huge benefit. In a recent post published on Getting Smart, Sarah Cargill discusses a virtual school that emphasizes mastery of subject matter. This program permits students to learn at their own paces and continue working until they have completely learned the subject matter. Cargill’s reference to this program showcases the advantage of individualization offered by some e-learning systems. Self-paced learning modules permit students to move more quickly through material they find easy and slow down when they encounter material they find challenging. This can accentuate and accelerate learning.
The Convenience and flexibility in scheduling that online learning offers is an advantage that makes it possible for some people to receive an education who would not otherwise have this opportunity. It may be necessary for some to hold a full-time job while going to school. These people have the option of arranging their learning time around their work schedule, even if it means submitting assignments at midnight. In the same way, a young mother could squeeze in an online class when she puts her child down for a nap.
Part of the reason for the the popularity of online learning may be economic issues brought about by tough financial times. Students can save money on travel costs by avoiding gas, parking and public transportation costs. Other financial consideration is childcare, a major barrier for many attending brick and mortar schools with rigid class schedules. Online education can also reduce the need for wardrobe expenditures that would be needed for a traditional educational environment.
More Direct Contact with Instructors
Students are permitted to ask their instructors questions through email. In a large class, students often will not feel comfortable asking questions, being reluctant to draw attention or risk appearing ignorant. This one-to-one contact with instructors is a distinct advantage over large classroom settings.
Obtaining a college education online eliminates issues of social concerns that can be a distraction to learning. Students who may be introverted and uncomfortable speaking in a lecture hall can convey their thoughts openly and comfortably in online settings.
Acquiring a degree through the Internet offers substantial advantages in various areas. Perhaps most important of these benefits is the 24/7 access to courses, which allows those with jobs or family responsibilities the enormous benefit of being able to further their education in a manner that does not interfere with their life or career duties.