Higher education has increasingly shifted towards online learning. Classroom based learning still accounts for the majority of time spent in higher education, but many colleges now offer a range of online classes. In some cases, you can study for a degree course almost entirely online. For example, if you wanted to enroll on a Master of Science in Nursing, there are courses available at Bradley University in the Mid-West.
Online learning is far more flexible than traditional classroom based learning. When students attend a college, they are required to show up for class at specific times.
Many students, particularly mature ones, have other commitments to take care of, so classroom learning doesn’t suit their lifestyle. They can’t afford to spend days in the classroom. Often they have to fit study around a full-time job or family commitments, so online study is a much better option. Students can study when they have some free time, rather than fitting into an existing learning schedule. For many, this is one of the key benefits of online learning.
Accessibility is another important issue. For example, if you want to enroll on a Masters of Science in Nursing but you live in a rural area, there might not be a suitable college within easy travelling distance. In addition, if you are working full-time or you have a family to take care of, it is virtually impossible to sign up for a course.
Online learning is more accessible. Anyone can study online, no matter where they live. As long as you have an internet connection and an internet enabled device, you can access your learning materials. Thanks to online forums, blogs, tweets and podcasts, students can feel just as connected to their peers and tutors as they would if they saw them every day in the classroom.
Cost Effective Learning
Study is expensive and the average student leaves college with a huge amount of debt. If a student does not have to attend their center of learning in person, the cost of study is immediately lower. There will still be tuition fees to pay, but students won’t have to pay for transport to and from college, or accommodation fees, etc.
Greater Opportunities for Student Interaction
Some students fear that a lack of face-to-face interaction means they won’t be participating in the class as they would if they were physically there. However, this is not necessarily the case. Class discussions can take place in real time via online messaging services. Online group discussions also give a voice to those students who might otherwise be too shy to contribute. Tutors can be more approachable online and students have more time to consider their responses to questions.
There are some disadvantages to online study and enrolling in an online course will not suit everyone. Some students will find motivation a problem, since you have to be disciplined when studying at home in your spare time. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, so there will probably come a time when online study is the preferred option for the majority of students.