With the current challenges facing traditional colleges and universities, which includes higher tuition, budget cuts, and course shortages, many students as well as those that love learning have switched to online educational programs. With nearly three million students currently enrolled in fully online degree programs and eight million taking at least one online course as part of their degree program, online education has clearly become one of the most popular higher education alternatives.
The continually improving reputation of online learning has also helped fuel its expansion, as initial skepticism has faltered in the face of evidence that shows that online learning can be just as effective as face-to-face education. I have taken several myself and the experience is quite unique as these programs are entirely convenient and flexible. They provide educational information that will build your business immediately. You will be surprised to know that some of these online courses are FREE! The emphasis however in taking free courses online is the personal knowledge obtained. The certificates received in some cases are however not from accredited educational institutes.
ONLINE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS VERSUS TRADITIONAL EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
All of this means that students, from working professionals to recent high school graduates, find many reasons to take all or some of their courses online. Below are some major advantages of online education:
- Variety of programs and courses: From traditional four-year universities to completely online career colleges, higher education today offers a variety of options for learners. This means that no matter what students wish to study, from cooking to rocket science, they can find online education they need. They can also earn every academic degree online, all the way from a career certificate to a doctorate.
- Lower total costs: Online educational programs can be a more affordable option than traditional colleges. Though not all online degrees have less expensive net tuition prices than traditional colleges, associated costs are almost always less expensive. There are no commuting costs, and there is also not any required course materials such as textbooks because every reading materials are made available for free online. In addition, many colleges and universities have begun to accept credits earned via free massive open online courses (MOOCs), the most recent advance in online education. Free online courses such as these can help students fulfill general education requirements at little to no cost.
- More comfortable learning environment: These days, commercials featuring online students studying in their pajamas are becoming popular in describing one of the primary benefits of online education. There are no physical class sessions. Lectures and reading materials are electronically sent to the student, who will then read them and complete assignments. Students will not have to fight traffic, find parking spaces, leave work early to go to class, or miss important family time.
- Convenience and flexibility: Online educational programs give students the opportunity to plan their study time around the rest of their day, instead of the other way around. Students can study and work when they are at their peak energy, whether that’s early morning or late at night. Course material is always accessible online and they are asynchronous, so there’s no need to schedule special trips to a library either. All of this makes online learning attractive.
- Avoid commuting: During bad weather, colleges may cancel classes. Also, a traffic situation like in Lagos where I reside may pose a serious problem for those attending traditional education. Rather than be late or miss important class sessions, students in online educational programs can always “attend” by participating on discussion boards or in chat sessions, turn in their work on time, and watch lectures or read materials. Many students also find that the amount they save on fuel costs can be substantial if they don’t have to commute to a physical campus in general, no matter what the weather conditions may be.
- Improve your technical skills: Even the most basic online educational programs requires the development of new computer skills, as students learn to navigate different learning management systems (LMS) and programs. The skills students learn to participate in their online courses translate to many professions, including creating and sharing documents, incorporating audio/video materials into your assignments, completing online training sessions, etc. All this form part of their learning too.