The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Courses

If you traveled back in time to the late nineteenth century and told someone that in about a hundred years, kids would be able to graduate from school without having to get out of their own room, they’d probably just laugh and think you were crazy. But, time went by and technology advanced faster than anybody could have ever imagined, and we now live in a world where we don’t even have to get up from the couch to be face to face with someone halfway across the globe. Of course, technology has both its benefits and harms, but it all really depends on how we choose to use it.

As knowledge of technology moves forward, the requirement to go to school to learn has been given another alternative – online courses. Although it may seem an easier option to those who are considering taking online classes, the whole concept of computer-based learning is actually a controversial topic, because, as with pretty much any issue that has many advantages, there’s also a whole, often ignored list of disadvantages.

Online courses are beneficial in multiple ways. They offer flexibility, which is immensely convenient for those who go to work or have a hard time managing their schedule. Students who work at a faster pace are able to do just that, while those who are having trouble with something can spend more time on that specific topic. Online courses enhance computer skills and teach students to be responsible and independent with their learning. And, classes can be taken anywhere where there’s access to a computer and Wi-Fi connection, so there are no travel costs of getting to school.

Shy students would probably find online learning a more suitable choice, as they can have all their questions answered without being face to face with another person. Also, there will be a more focused environment, as the instructor will be spending time with just one individual rather than a whole class. The Internet also offers a huge variety of different courses, so not only can you find unique classes from other places, but people living in developing countries can also take courses that aren’t available in their area. 

On the other hand, online courses are based on self-learning, so students who aren’t motivated or who have bad time management skills may struggle. There are no face-to-face interactions, which can be important to effectively communicate certain topics. Also, students lose the opportunity to learn valuable social skills or participate in all-class discussions. It is often beneficial to hear other’s opinions on a subject, which an online course does not provide.

Online classes are often expensive compared to regular school classes, and they require certain Internet and computer skills. A student lacking those skills, or an efficient computer, for that matter, would have a hard time learning online. Additionally, there isn’t any of the structure or supervision that a traditional class would have had.

The advantages and disadvantages of online courses really depend on the student – if someone is responsible, resourceful, and willing to learn, then taking classes online is actually a great option. However, if they need a structured environment and schedule to get their work done, then they would probably be more successful in a regular school.