As internet and computing technology facilitate increasingly sophisticated telecommuting and remote communication, online learning has become a more and more common option for those looking to further their education, with a huge variety of schools offering online programs. However, some members of the academic community are averse to change, and reluctant to embrace new learning technology. While both online and traditional “offline” classes have their pluses and minuses, these are some of the biggest advantages of online learning.
More Affordable for Students
In the United States, the cost of higher education is often prohibitive for many potential students. Many of the expenses associated with education are not an issue with online learning. Students taking online classes do not need to worry about commuting, meal plans, or on campus housing, and often do not need to buy additional supplies such as textbooks, since class materials are already accessible online. In addition to those savings, online tuition is often lower than tuition for a traditional program.
No matter who you are, it seems like everybody’s schedule is getting ridiculously busy these days. Time management issues have never been more of an issue and the relative flexibility of many online courses are preferable to many students. Unlike traditional classes, those enrolled in online courses often have a measure of flexibility as to when they turn in assignments, and even when they take exams.
Balance with Other Commitments
The flexibility advantages of online learning extend beyond assignments and tests. Parents and people with time-consuming jobs do not need to worry about leaving home and taking up extra time commuting to school and sitting in a classroom, which means not having to hire a babysitter and/or spend hours in a classroom after a long day at work. Everything can be done from home, or anywhere with an internet connection.
Effective Learning through Technology
The technology involved with online learning enables much more than just telecommuting. Online courses often utilize ingenious web design and innovative multimedia to make for a rich and powerful learning experience not possible with other types of learning formats.
Training for a Modern World
There are few career paths these days that do not incorporate at least some degree of modern technology. In addition to computer technology in general, many jobs also involve remote communications. An online education helps prepare students for these aspects of the contemporary business world, giving those who have taken online classes for at least a portion of their college education a head start on other job candidates and employees.
Despite these advantages, online learning still has something of a stigma among some members of the public and the academic community. However, this stigma is disappearing as more people become aware of the potential and benefits of online education.