With today’s students growing up in the digital age, technology is challenging and reforming many aspects of their lives from entertainment, education and future employment roles.
Education is one sector that has significantly changed with technology. Today’s digital technologies have played an important role in cross border learning, academic collaborations and resource and materials sharing that enrich a student’s learning experience.
There are many different types of online resources available for teaching and learning with some students even adopting online learning as the main form of education instead of following the traditional way of learning, by enrolling in schools or universities. According to research by Allen and Seaman (2017), of all students taking at least one online class, almost half (48%) are enrolled only in online programs.
Why do learners prefer online learning?
A recent report by In Best Colleges’ 2019 Online Education Trends Report revealed that for the third year in a row, the convenience and flexibility offered by online programs topped the list of reasons.
With online learning, there is never a fixed schedule which enables you to join the ‘class’ and begin studying at a time that is more suitable or can be adjusted to your lifestyle. This means no rush in the morning and no more nodding off during lectures.
In addition, online learning often saves time and money by avoiding the cost and congestion of commuting.
Another advantage of online learning is the vast range of subjects available at the click of a button. These enables students greater flexibility to try new courses that may not have been traditionally available to them.
Moreover, online learning is self-paced. This means you can work at your own pace and balance learning with other commitments such as work. This removes the barrier of full time courses and requiring attendance to lectures during working hours.
Drawbacks of online learning
The convenience of online learning also comes with some drawbacks, such as the lack of interaction with other people, and the concern that the online learning institution might not be accredited.
Several online learning programmes have begun enabling interactive sessions in their courses through the use of webcams and discussion sessions. However, it is not quite the same as being in the same classroom in person.
In addition, some course providers are not accredited, although top tier universities also offer accredited online courses which removes this problem.
With all these benefits and drawbacks, one thing that is certain is that advances in technology are offering huge changes and potential to the education sector.