Distance learning, or online learning is fast becoming accepted as an additional yet effective alternative to traditional classroom education. The reasons for this change in attitude range from a perception of a better education to easier access to higher education. For more learners worldwide the concept of attending a well-known and respected college online while still earning a respectable education, it’s easy to see why the popularity of online education is rapidly growing.
The idea of attending class at a location other than a traditional classroom is not new. With rising tuition costs and the technology boom allowing such a radical change from traditional norms, distance learning online is for some the only choice to earn a college education. Although some traditionalist educators still strongly oppose online education, many colleges and universities now have enough experience in online education to enthusiastically promote it. The ability to attend class in the evening after work, or any other time that is convenient definitely has its advantages.
In traditional classroom settings professors speak to a group of students, some of whom may not pay attention or may become disinterested. The opposite is true in an online environment, however. Students must interact during discussions because the professor monitors their attentiveness and participation, which is part of their final grade. Not only does this help the student learn by participating regularly, it also demonstrates to the professor the effectiveness of his or her teachings.
Some assert that online education is not as effective as “face-to-face” instruction. Studies on this subject conclude just the opposite, however. A 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Education concluded that online students performed better, on average, than those when taking courses through face-to-face instruction. The report goes on to say that “blended” instruction, or a combination of both styles, appeared to perform best. Not only does online learning definitely contribute positively to the effectiveness of learning, but also provides those students in need of extra time to learn by allowing them unfettered access to materials.
The benefits of online learning are clear. Additionally, the effectiveness is apparent and cannot be disputed any longer. That said, demand for advanced degrees is growing and schools and universities are listening. In fact, degrees in the health and business fields that were once considered too technical for online learning are now in the highest demand.
When the advantages and benefits of distance learning online are compared to traditional education, the merits of the former shine through brightly.