Online learning, often referred to as distance learning or cyber school, is an educational delivery method that brings the classroom to the student, rather than forcing the student to seek out the classroom. Students choosing to participate in an online curriculum need to have ready access to a computer connection, a basic set computer operating skills and the desire to pursue an educational course of study in order to improve their employment prospects or to enrich their lives. Options and opportunities are available through nearly all recognized educational institutions.
Online learning has evolved rapidly since the advent of the internet in mainstream society. With this evolution has come a clear menu of benefits for the student, the school system and society in general. At a glance, here are some of the more readily apparent benefits to be considered.
Students in online learning programs are able to set their own schedules, building their online class time and their study time around lives that may already be crowded with family obligations, job schedules and any number of personal activities that might prohibit the pursuit of a traditional education. They can study at night or through the day as their personalities, responsibilities and biorhythms dictate.
Online students are spared the hassle and wasted time needed to commute back and forth to class or the need to put the rest of their life on hold while they matriculate to a college campus far from home. The cost savings for the student both in terms of time and money are apparent.
Students can work at their own pace, without the structure of class attendance at set days and times. As long as they are able to complete the course work in the time allotted, they can successfully fulfill the requirements of the course.
If students and teachers are not on campus and in the classroom there is no need for school systems to spend money on electricity, heating and air conditioning in buildings that are receiving little or no use. In the long term, it may not be necessary to build new buildings to house those classrooms any longer.
Schools may be able to expand their educational offerings for students who study online. They are no longer limited by the physical restraints of inadequate classroom space, limited parking or housing facilities or any of the other restrictions imposed by limited supplies of resources.
Online education is a “green” approach to learning. Online students are not using gasoline to travel back and forth to class. Online students download much or all of their classroom assignments and textbooks from the internet. This reduces or eliminates the need to buy traditional textbooks that often serve no useful function after the semester is over. Lots of trees are saved by online education.
Because of the expanded availability of being able to pursue educational goals offered by the online learning concept, more citizens are able to obtain additional education than would be if they had to depend on the traditional methods of obtaining an education. A better educated society means more stable employment at better paying jobs. Better paying jobs mean a higher tax base for society which leads to improved conditions for everyone.