Online education is increasingly becoming available for various fields where it makes sense. Business, Mathematics, Humanities and some theoretical courses from physical sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology etc.) can easily be taught online. Of course, online education is simply not adequate for some disciplines, but it’s only a matter of time when virtually everything could be taught online.
1-Availability: Online education has matured over the years and is now available from some of the top universities in the world. For instance, check out the following:
2-Affordability: It’s a much more affordable option when compared to the traditional brick and mortar institutions. Some even offer FREE courses online Here is a short list of some of the providers.
3-Flexibility: You can study anywhere, anytime. This is a definite edge for those who wish to acquire knowledge despite their busy lives. If you’re traveling, you can take the class from your hotel room. Or watch class videos offline or write your paper while you’re flying over the Atlantic.
4-Global Collaboration: Your virtual classroom can have students from around the world from various backgrounds. Students can come together to exchange knowledge and benefit from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
5-Fastest way to learn new technologies: As fast as technologies are evolving, it’s hard for most people to keep up. Offering online education and updating it as soon as changes occur is much more feasible than offering traditional offline instructor lead courses.
6-Way more choices for online courses: There is a dizzying array of courses available online from institutions from all over the world. If you find a subject hard to understand, you can even take the course from, say a university in the US, then follow it up with the same or similar course from the UK or Singapore or Canada or Denmarkor any university from anywhere in the world offering online courses.
7-Easier to acquire marketable skills: Some of the most marketable skills don’t seem to be available in every traditional school. If you need to learn the latest programming language or acquire Mandarin conversational skills.
8-Introverts, stay at home mothers and, in some cases, even prisoners can study: Online education is potentially available to anyone with a device and an Internet connection. You don’t even have to get out of the house much less travel to another city or country to acquire education via online outlets.
9-Great use of new technology: Online education technology has come a long way and matured enough to be very effective both for the providers enabling them to reach a much wider audience and for the students to have much bigger choice of courses available. Furthermore, courses can be provided in mixed media – audio, video, text, live sessions, discussion forums for students and teachers and more. This makes the experience for everyone involved much richer than the standard medium of face-to-face interaction, in some ways.
10-Continue acquiring knowledge long after your college days are over: Traditional education may be stopped after graduating from the university. However, online education can continue and anyone, young and old, can acquire new knowledge and skills.
What is missing from online education is the element of direct human interaction, in class rooms and on campus. This should be compensated for by having offline meet ups between local students and instructors where possible or simply taking some classes in traditional school settings. A hybrid online/offline model is probably the best option to get the best outcome.
In conclusion, do not dismiss online education. It’s real and it’s here to stay. Embrace it now as a viable alternative to traditional ways of learning or risk being left behind.