As with anything, there are both strengths and weaknesses to online learning. For years and years, online learning was dismissed as an inferior method of education for today's students both at the primary and secondary levels. However, as computer technology continues to grow and become an ever more essential aspect of our lives, online education has gained more respect in the academic world. Many individuals are seeking online learning avenues to better match their special needs. There are many aspects of education that online classrooms excel in and many other areas that traditional classrooms excel in. What seems to finally be agreed upon at this point is that online education is not wishing to replace the traditional classroom setting. These two avenues for education are available to meet the differing individual needs of different students. As more and more students flock to non-traditional modes of learning, we continue to discuss the pros and cons of online learning versus traditional classroom learning.
The most obvious and immediate advantage of online learning is that it allow students to participate in high quality learning situations from any place and at almost any time. Students from all areas of the nation and world can participate in classes as long as they have a computer and internet access. This flexibility in location and schedule is particularly useful for students with physical disabilities that limit their ability to access a traditional classroom. Furthermore, it also benefits individuals wishing to return to school who are currently working fulltime jobs, have families, or a bounded by some other daily responsibility. Though the requirements of different online classes will vary, the online classroom is typically available 24 hours a day. This means that students can develop their own schedules so that their education fits within their already complicated days.
The flexibility of the online classroom also allows instructors a number of options for their curriculum. Because the classroom is online, anyone can access it from anywhere. This means that instructors can easily include distinguished guests, experts on the topic at hand, and students from other institutions in the curriculum. With classes taking place through an online medium, it makes it much simpler for instructors to collect various online resources for students to utilize. Furthermore, online lines of communication provide an extremely convenient way for students to get a hold of their professor or classmates. With a world of information directly at their fingertips during their virtual classroom experience, students and instructors are able to expand on topics in more depth and can have better informed discussions.
One of the major disadvantages to online education is that it requires access to the online learning environment. This requirement makes online learning inaccessible to a large portion of the population be it for economical or logistic reasons. Students from rural areas or lower socioeconomic lifestyles are put at a distinct disadvantage because of this. This is particularly an issue because one of online educations big ploys is that it is less expensive than traditional brick and mortar schooling, at least at the collegiate level. So, students who can't afford traditional universities, but can afford online tuition prices are still unable to attend because of their limited access to technology. Not only are computers an expensive investment, having reliable access to the internet is costly. If a participants' time online is limited by their ability to access the internet, then instruction and participation in the online program is not equal for all students involved.
Reliable technology is essential to an online program. Technical issues or internet problems can cause major issues for the success of a program. That being said, no technology is completely reliable. There will be technical errors and problems that occur regularly for an online institution. These technical hiccups can be majorly detrimental to the regular proceedings of an online class and to the learning that is supposed to take place. Because computer technology and the internet are such specialized fields, not everyone can maintain their devices in optimal working order. With this unreliability, online learning can be put at a huge disadvantage and students' learning experiences can be harmed.
This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes for online universities blog. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: email@example.com.