Good and Bad Sides of Online Education

Undeniably, we see a rapid increase in the popularity of online learning and online courses. As the entire world now faces the coronavirus pandemic, our lifestyle has changed too. This affected almost every aspect of the world’s life by acquiring another dimension – political, educational, economical, etc. Not only social but many professional and educational projects are conducted at home now through the Internet. Why? Because people simply try to avoid catching COVID-19, which already changed many concepts that we used to comprehend in the past.

Even though e-learning takes more time to produce than instructor-led courses, there is one definite benefit to it – the cost per student is much cheaper. This especially becomes obvious when thousands of students are taking the same online course. It costs way more money and takes more resources to get an instructor and students in a classroom. Well, this is just one of the reasons why online class becomes something much more common today.

Anyway, everything in this life has two sides – a positive and a negƒative one. So, read this blog post, if you want to have a glance at the goods and bads of online education. We’ve collected a set of pros and cons of online education and learning online.

Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of online learning to see if this worth the effort.

E-Learning funny education concept with unusual man teacher

Positive sides of online education

Convenience. No doubt, online education is incredibly convenient. Unlike a seminar or a workshop, online learning can be done on the employee’s own schedule and convenience. They can take a course whenever they feel like they want to lay back and learn something. Or even learn on the go during the lunch break on a workday. Learning online with online courses and video lectures is very handy to those who are working full time or unable to attend traditional classes for some reason.

No shortage of options. E-learning platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, or Grinfer offer hundreds of courses on many disciplines. Online courses that these marketplaces offer have easily trackable progress milestones like tests, as well as quizzes. Use something like Talent LMS if you wish to create your own training programs. Or go to the Grinfer learning platform to build an online course with ease (totally free with no obligations, all you need is just register).

Flexibility in scheduling. Typically, online study schedulers can be easily adjusted to fit almost any work schedule. There are lots of students who have obstacles that prevent them from receiving traditional education. For example, busy work scheduler, disabilities, social or home duties (motherhood), etc. Online education gives the opportunity to continue learning and graduate.

Since online lessons are held in two formats, either a pre-recorded video lesson or a live webinar, one can pursue a course along with some other job/occupation. Also, you can acquire a degree to enhance your existing skills or educational qualification. You can do all these without having to relocate or maintain a fixed time schedule.

Engaging and fun. Online learning platforms often “gamify” virtual learning activities. Most dedicated participants get granted with awarding badges, points, etc. after you complete a particular goal. This allows for healthy competition among team members and lets your team enjoy themselves while they learn new skills.

Availability. Studying remotely, you can gain knowledge from pretty much anywhere. Study at your house/apartment or while traveling, at a local cafe, or around the countryside. Wherever there is the Internet, online learning is possible. In other words, you’re not limited to any particular country or continent.

Online education allows for educational instruction to reach anywhere. Theoretically, online education can be delivered at any time (depending on the mode of delivery), to any number of people with access to the Internet and mobile device. This has tremendous potential for populations of students with restrictions on time or who might live in locations with little access to educational facilities.

Saving money. An important advantage of online learning is its relatively low cost.  This makes it a very powerful, as well as an attractive alternative to brick-and-mortar colleges. Of course, some online courses or schools can set up prices that may be several times higher than the cost of contract day study at the university. But, in most cases, learning online is much cheaper.

This is because those organizations that provide training services do not need to rent premises, buy furniture, equipment, maintain a permanent staff of teachers, etc. By studying remotely, a person does not depend on transport, spending money on snacks during lunchtime, spending money on gas for the car, etc.

Specific knowledge. Distance learning gives a person a specific set of knowledge and skills. You get exactly what you pay for. Everyone who studied at the university came across frankly unnecessary subjects that don’t fit into the picture of specialized education in any way.

For example, humanitarians in universities are often “tortured” with mathematics, physics, and stuff like that. Whereas, mathematicians are tortured with philosophy.  Pretty much every other student is tortured with athletics. When it comes down to online learning, it is free from the excesses of academic education. In other words, if you pay for programming courses, you won’t be spending your time doing something that you don’t need.

Supported study. Self-learning is essential if you enrolled in any kind of correspondence learning program. Still, you will have instant access to the Library’s unique service, online database services, and Blackboard (which has proved itself effective for online learning). Plus, online learning provides opportunities to acquire knowledge from the most important academics and lecturers in every field.

More detailed. Study materials and their contents could be more detailed with colors, fonts, shapes, etc. resulting in a better imagination and grasp of the topics.

Diversity. An adult student in an online course will engage with people from more places and backgrounds that they can learn with and from.

Introverts get to speak/chat. Some people are shy in asking their questions face-to-face because they feel like they’re having judgemental eyes upon them. So, the virtual classroom helps some shy and reserved people to become more frank and open about their doubts and concerns. The chatting option or the anonymous option helps them to express their needs online.

Much safer. Given the constantly rising threat of the pandemic, it is easier to rely on online classes rather than risking anybody’s health.

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Negative sides of online education

Aspects that can affect health. Too much access to digital technologies may result in health issues (eyesight, psychology, physiology, etc.) as they would mostly stick to a particular place during their studies. People tend to forget to do stretches or take breaks while they get too busy with online learning.

Lack of ability and social interaction. Some people confessed that while learning online, they can experience a lack of ability to interact, express, innovate, motivate, etc. So, if you have an extremely outgoing personality and can’t live without chatting with other people, you might feel a little miserable while learning online. The meaning of hard work while studying may lose sense since an extroverted person needs to engage all his abilities – both physical and mental. To see facial expressions and body language of other people is very important to them, which is harder to get with online studies.

A one-directional approach. Once you signed up for online courses,  you’ll have to go through the entire thing to learn. But if by chance you’ve been stuck on something, then that becomes a problem. In a traditional class, you would ask the mentor for clarification right away or articulate the specific obstacle that you came across.  As for online courses, if you are stuck you might have to wait for clarification about your confusion. Or spend some time asking questions in the comments section.

Learning modalities can be too broad. The individuals who create online courses are not necessarily trained in pedagogics. They might not be aware of academic approaches that teachers use including the best strategies for effective learning. Specific educational needs can be not taken into consideration. And the program itself can lack adjustment to different special learning problems.

Productivity and motivation may suffer. Eventually, people start making excuses for the bad Internet connection just to escape during virtual meetings. Students are becoming lazy waking up a couple of minutes before the Zoom meet-up. Then it’s easy to let the software run in the background while you’re scrolling through Instagram or watching your favorite show on the web. It’s really easy to just tune the meeting out and end up doing whatever you want without focusing on learning.

However, some people function better at home. If you’re not naturally self-motivated and are prone to procrastination, you’ll get behind real quick. Don’t let this happen because it can be disastrous.

Perception. There are still businesses out there that may see an online program as less credible compared to the brick-and-mortar university degrees. Academic degrees received online may become an obstacle during the hiring process, but this is rather an exception today.

Admissions process. There are some schools in the online space who don’t spend enough time to make sure that students are truly prepared. They are focused primarily on enrollment. So, do your homework before you enroll in online courses and ask lots of questions!

Hands off learning. Online classes have come a long way. Today, online courses deliver more simulation, interactivity, etc., compared to previous decades. However, if you enjoy hands-on learning or want a hands-on career, then online education isn’t a great option.

Adjuncts. Most schools rely on adjuncts to teach. However, online programs often rely more heavily on this part-time group of instructors. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you want to focus on learning from faculty who also developed the course, make sure you’re investigating who’s doing the teaching.

Internet problems and distractions. Well, this happening just ends the debate, doesn’t it? Since some people might not have good Internet access for some reason. Obviously, losing connectivity once and a while is just as annoying as hell. Technical problems happen during online learning (e.g. system bugs, glitches, problems with your internet connection, etc.). These can affect learning and motivation. In classrooms, whenever there’s a technical difficulty, the teacher can usually notice and address the problem quite quickly. Whereas, with studying online you’re more on your own and have to find ways for resolving issues by yourself.

Summing Up

Online education became very advantageous since it makes knowledge much more affordable, accessible, and safe. Anyone can access online classes, online courses, video lectures, etc. As long as they have an Internet connection and an interest in a given topic. However, access to information is so easy nowadays that one can become easily overwhelmed. Or simply won’t know where to start and what path to take in the online studies.

Well, online e-learning platforms make it much easier to find, filter, and absorb the right information avoiding any kinds of informational garbage. E-learning platforms are famous for critical analysis of any kind of educational materials being submitted to them by online instructors and coaches. Also, e-learning platforms have susceptible filters that allow them to sift through anything that is not suitable for learning effectively.

When it comes down to problems with online learning, these can result from bad instructions. And, of course, there can be a great deal of frustration with technology too. Also, many teachers admit the usefulness of being able to see students first-hand. This is useful for getting a more clear picture of students’ preparedness and whether they have a good grasp of everything that has been learned so far.

So, possibly one of the most powerful solutions would be to blend online learning with traditional learning. As an example, professors can move lengthy lectures online and make them available anytime. Certainly, there are plenty of academic subjects that require advanced discussions with face-to-face interactions. But still, there are many types of material that lend to online learning more easily. No doubt, online education will keep on gaining more popularity and only grow even bigger over time.

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