Online Education vs. Distance Learning

Online education is a great way to bridge the gap between students and educators. Online has made learning easier and personalized. You can sit in the comfort of your room and attend an online class for hours. What other advantages does online learning offer? Here are major reasons that will tell you why it gains popularity by the hour:

  • Allows you to learn according to your comfort and time availability;
  • Allows every student to learn at their own pace with less pressure;
  • Can be accessed anywhere anytime (with a stable Internet connection);
  • Makes students digitally smart;
  • Recorded lectures can be replayed as many times as needed.

Given the pandemic situation, online education has been a boon in lots of ways. But there are always two sides to every question. On one hand, students are able to get regular education and their development is taken care of. On the other hand, there are lots of families today who are having a hard time in terms of finances, especially during the time of the COVID-19 crisis. But the good thing is that in actuality online education is even more affordable than many people think.

Let’s dive deeper into this topic and talk about what online education is and how it is different from distance learning. Also, in this article, we’ll go over some pros and cons of online education and how online courses really work.

How online education can be defined

Online learning is an umbrella term used for learning with the help of using learning platforms that are virtually set up in the Internet space. It is also called E-learning where “E” stands for Electronic. E-learning is taking the traditional education experience and reformatting it to fit with digital technologies while still keeping to the same objectives. The main goal of this field is to provide eager remote students with convenient access to new spheres of knowledge 24/7.

There is a virtual classroom setting on a dedicated learning platform where there is an instructor present who gives online lectures and assigns works digitally to the students.

Instructors will guide the students if they have any doubts or troubles. This particular kind of mode of online education is more useful, affordable, as well as interactive compared to traditional education.

Before online educational platforms came into play and gained huge popularity, there were MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), which may have thousands of learners enrolled in the course. However, courses offered by MOOC for the most part weren’t counted towards a degree program or couldn’t be transferred towards one.

Today, with the popularity of online education, even some of the tech companies have set up online schools to allow students to gain knowledge and fulfill their academic goals without the requirement of physically present on the school campus. Thereby, eliminating the daily transportation cost of going to school, which is greatly appreciated by many people who try to save every penny, especially now when everything seems so  vulnerable and uncertain.

Distance learning definition

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The main important feature of distance learning is in delivering an exceptional opportunity for students who do not fit into a traditional classroom for one reason or another. It helps to provide the flexibility and effectiveness in learning they need in order to become successful in their future career achievements. The whole concept of distance education basically means that you get study material, attend contact programs, and exams are conducted for a certificate. Some universities offer online education in which teachers may connect in real-time occasionally or a part of the course is conducted online and rest in the face to face classes etc.

Distance learning may take many forms such as the numerous forms of correspondence courses wherein the course material is sent to the student via mail and actual books and paper course materials are utilized, tests are taken, and sent back to the professor via Internet for comments and grading.

If you are a working professional, distant learning can prove to be very beneficial. You can enhance your knowledge and skillset without having to leave your employment. This way, you will be able to use what you learn at your workplace and this could help you get recognition and other work-related perks.

There are many benefits of distance education which are pretty much similar to online education whatsoever:

Flexibility – online courses offer you a flexible way to study. You can choose where and when you want to study and then pick up concepts and information at your own pace. You do not have to contend with the timetable and physical classes. So, you can easily fit the courses around your lifestyle and other obligations.

Supported Learning – while distant education lays emphasis on self-study, help is never far away. If you need support or guidance, you can always connect with the facilitators of the institute to clarify doubts or get answers to any queries.

For the most part, online learning is the same thing as correspondence classes or on-line learning. It is when you take an official class without being in the classroom or school where the teacher or provider is. Today, the most common form in the US is courses that are offered online.

Pros and cons of online school

There are many reasons why one opts in to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree online. One of the main reasons is being that online school is more affordable compared to traditional education. The question of whether online degrees are as legitimate as non-online degrees arises is pretty much out of the question since many employers embrace online graduates today. So, what other pros of online schooling we can list here for you?

Pros of online learning:

  • Access to multiple categories of digital content – if you learn much better by watching videos, then digital education enables you to get access to different types of digital content. You can choose topics based on your interest.
  • Personalized learning – online learning platforms use AI and ML to truly personalize the learning based on the interest of students to speed up the process of moving them up to the next learning levels. Such platforms enable students to build up their mastery gradually using a learning path truly customized for them
  • Non-judgemental learning – there is a certain amount of comfort you feel when holding your favorite gadget in your hand. Why? Because there is no one to judge you since you are in the safe environment of your home. You know that there is no one evaluating you, so you can learn just the way you would like to.
  • Empowers the teachers – while the whole idea of online learning is very student-centric, teachers will continue to be an important part of this educational ecosystem, regardless of whether they teach online or not. At the Grinfer learning marketplace, for example, it is possible to enable access to learning through live 1-1 consultations. You can pretty much have a chat with any teacher or expert who provides this service on Grinfer by booking a consultation with an instructor of your choice in just one click. Pick an instructor, choose a time slot in the booking calendar, confirm. That’s it. This approach is an awesome way to get answers to any questions or to receive additional hints and tips from professionals.

Cons of online education:

  • Distractions – most people are using Zoom, and it’s easy to just let the software run in the background while you scroll through your Instagram or watch a web show. Unless people reusing better software like Microsoft Teams that help keep an eye on the participants’ activities, it’s really simple to just tune the meeting out and do whatever you want.
  • Internet problems and lags – not many people have good internet access, and losing connectivity can be very annoying.
  • No assured productivity – people can easily make excuses for bad Internet connection and lose motivation for being productive during meetings. Some people can wake up just before they need to get on the conference call in Zoom, feeling lazy, sleepy, and unmotivated. It’s really easy to lose track of time and get all messed up, if you do all your activities on the Internet. 

How teaching online can be approached

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Online teaching is emerging as a leading source of providing quality education to students across the globe. Today, teaching on the Internet does not only mean giving lectures to the camera and then making it available to the public for viewing. With the continuous technology updates and financial investments, online portals and eLearning platforms have come up with varied approaches to education which contribute to online teaching and learning enormously. 

Online learning is tough, particularly when it comes to keeping students engaged in the virtual space. Over 80% of students have said they dislike online learning because they don’t feel engaged. So, how can an online teaching process be approached in order to make it more effective and deliver an excellent learning experience?

Here are a few tips you can use for teaching online still controlling and retaining student’s attention:  

Avoid monologues. Yes, it’s rather easy to lose focus when you are studying from a long distance. That is why it is best that you work in an interactive manner and avoid long lectures that you deliver online. Only speak for five minutes straight and afterward, find a way to engage with the student. Lectures are the best way to make a student lose interest and fall asleep when they are taking your class.

Provide interactive tests. You need to find online resources that allow you to custom-build your own exam. Every now and then (better at the end of each week) have a test giving students a chance to revise everything they have learned previously. In the middle of class, have questions ready that you can ask your students. This strategy should help students to feel obligated and stay engaged with the curriculum of your course.

Don’t be afraid of adding interactive websites in your teaching approaches. There are websites that ask learners to complete games as tasks. These websites will allow the students to see the content as a game and they have to finish milestones in the game. The antidote to the monotony that kills the students’ interest in learning online.

Make sure you are present to students and provide supervision. Always try to push students to provide you with their contact information or contact info of supervisors, if you teach students who are under 18 years old. Their parents, elder siblings, and any other similar people in their lives who have strong control over them. They will control the children in case they’ve been slacking making sure that the students take their studies seriously.

Bottom line

Last but not the least, anybody can give a start to online teaching whether you’re an experienced teacher or just a beginner. Don’t hesitate and give wings to your dream of becoming a teacher with eLearning platforms that provide all necessary assistance to their members of the teaching community. To achieve your dream faster and with less headache, just pick an online learning platform that would deliver everything you’re looking for and collaborate by providing your expertise to the world.

You can start selling courses on Grinfer and launch your online teaching business. You’ll make money by earning an author’s commission. Or try 1-1 consultations and share your knowledge with others by live interactions on the Grinfer learning platform. Write a quick email to Grinfer’s support team to get more info and start your teaching experience today!

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