What is online education?
Online education (E-learning/Distance learning) is an educational system based upon electronic resources delivered online via internet.
Online learning includes; certificates, diplomas, webinars, webcasts, Massive Open Online Courses and online degrees (bachelor, master, PhD). This form of learning has helped people from all walks of life due to its simplicity and flexibility. E-learning is opening up frontiers in education that were previously unavailable to a large chunk of the population especially in developing and underdeveloped nations.
Advantages of online education
Flexible self-paced learning
Online education offers a flexible learning environment, you can pursue your course without worrying about mobility and transportation. Online lectures can help you attend classes without the need to travel for a class. For people with social anxiety or other commitments (family obligations, injury, jobs etc) online learning can be very advantageous. Online education can be pursued by anybody from 9 to 5 office goers to housewives at the time that suits them.
Cost effective education
Online education including certificates, diplomas costs much less than traditional on campus education. On the other hand, online degrees can be expensive but the overall cost of an online degree is less than a traditional degree program at a university. Traditional campus based education involves fees other than tuition fee, which includes, transportation fee, hostel fee, laboratory fee, library fee, textbooks etc.
Diversity of courses
Online learning offers a variety of courses from certificates to doctorate, all it takes is a google search. Students can pursue multiple courses whether it is related to their academic background, job/career or a hobby. Online education is a great medium of learning for people who are interested in a multitude of topics or fields. Courses can be taken to supplement one’s previous education, curiosity or profession, discover new/old interests, and/or to pursue a career change.
Improvement of technical skills
We live in a digital age, evident by our use and dependency upon information and technology. Whether it be reading news, watching movies/TV shows, reading Wikipedia articles, chatting with friends, shopping or playing video games, we spend a huge chunk of our daily life on the internet. Online education helps in improving and learning basic computer skills and programs like learning management systems. By pursuing online education, we create, edit and share documents, incorporate audio/video/image materials into assignments, navigate through computer programs and are productivity software. Online learning enables students to acquire expertise in academic disciplines and topics that might not be accessible to certain geographic regions.
Less demanding application process
For majority of students in the world traditional education involves a lot of steps and procedures in order to be enrolled at an institute. A lot of steps are required for students interested in studying abroad; Preparation, online application, document submission, visa process and traveling to the desired country. As compared to traditional application process, Online learning offers a less demanding admission process.
Online education helps in building social networks by providing a chance to connect with people across several countries and continents. Online learning helps in creating opportunities for collaboration, teamwork along with understanding one’s peers in terms of their cultural backgrounds. E-learning also incorporates collaboration with others on-campus/local people and at the same time allowing people to connect with others through email, social media, chat rooms and mobile applications.
Easy access to course materials
Online education provides coursework resources and lessons with an ease of access. Students can access learning material any time for an unlimited number of times. Learners can define their own pace of study and plan accordingly instead of following the whole group in a traditional classroom based environment.
Availability of instructor
At traditional colleges and universities, talking to a professor after class can be challenging. Instructors have office hours, often an hour or two per week with hundreds of students waiting for queries and attention.
Online learning allows students to easily converse with their instructors through chat, discussion thread, email or video.
Less impact on environment
Online learning offers a form of education which protects and benefits the natural environment by cutting the use of fuel for transportation and natural resources for energy generation. While traditional education has a dependency on paper, online education offers a paperless learning system which helps in reduction of pollution and other environmental risks.