The Benefits of Online Learning

By Brenda on June 15th, 2011



The Benefits of Online Learning

Online learning has exploded over the last decade as millions of students flock to virtual classrooms all over the world. Online education was once thought of as inferior by academics and researchers but is now firmly entrenched in the fabric of postsecondary education. If you are thinking of enrolling in an online program consider these benefits:

1. Flexibility

The obvious benefit of online or distance learning is the flexibility it affords. People with full-time jobs and families can now achieve their educational goals because of online learning. The working parent who could not attend a “brick and mortar” institution 15-20 years ago is now able to achieve their dreams of a college degree.

2. Access

Access has always been a huge barrier for aspiring college students. Many people are place bound and do not have a local university or community college in their town and cannot move because of financial and familial obligations. Online education has opened up postsecondary schooling to these students making it possible for them to enroll.

3. Quality Education

Online education has shaken the stigma of being inferior as world class institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, and other prestigious schools now offer online courses and programs. The industry has cracked down on fly by night colleges simply looking to make a profit by mandating accreditation and creating industry wide standards. Students should always check to see if the school is fully accredited and by whom before enrolling.

4. Increased Participation

Anecdotal evidence suggests that participation actually increases in an online environment compared to the traditional classroom. Students feel much more at ease to discuss topics in an e-environment because it is much less intimidating. Participation is weighted much heavier by professors in distance education classes so the expectation is there, which is not always the case in a regular classroom.

5. Faculty/Student Interaction

Research shows that increased faculty/student interaction deepens learning and increases graduation rates. Online students have direct access to their instructors via phone, chat, social networking sites, e-learning platforms such as Blackboard, and email. In many large university classrooms the instructor is simply a “talking head” conveying facts and figures compared to online classes where the students and instructors often engage in quality analysis and critical thinking.

6. Research Skills

Online learning helps students learn how to research using the internet and also increases technology skills that are required to be a successful worker in the 21st century.

7. Diverse Students

Online learning is truly learning without borders. An undergraduate business class may have people enrolled from all over the world allowing for diverse opinions and thoughts to be brought into the classroom. The broad spectrum of students definitely enhances the learning experience as students are able to interface with people they may normally never get a chance to meet face to face.

8. Enhanced Learning

Students often claim one of the main benefits of online learning is they can “attend” class when they are fresh and ready to engage in the material as opposed to the traditional class schedule that may not be at a time when the student is ready to learn. Students can go over course content multiple times when it is online but only have one opportunity to hear the instructor in a traditional classroom.


Category: Computers and Technology,Online Degrees