Online learning is gaining momentum. Actually, I’m one of those people who has taken an online course at least once in their lifetime — in fact, I’ve taken a dozen of them, both for an academic degree and professional diploma. This fact makes me think that I know something about learning in pajamas and can share my experience with you!
Top Five Strengths of Online Learning
So, you are thinking about taking an online course. IMHO, it’s a great idea because online learning is:
- Convenient: You can study wherever you are, whenever you wish, and at a pace that you find convenient! Moreover, you can get many free or affordable services, which helps you to learn online — from extracurricular tutoring to effective studying lifehacks.
- Cheaper: I don’t want to say that online training is free. On the contrary, some institutions don’t make a distinction between the traditional and online training courses. Therefore, online students are to pay the same money as the students who get face-to-face instructions.
BUT what about travel expenses, rent payment, electricity, internet bills etc? What about buying books, new clothes, and all that stuff?
We compared international relations to the same course taught at a physical location and it’s clear that, traditional forms of training are much more expensive than online learning!
- Takes less time: Taking an online course can save much time because unlike students choosing more traditional forms of training, you can integrate learning into the habitual order of life. You can learn while waiting at the airport, traveling abroad, having a walk with your kids, going to work etc.
- Offers ample opportunities: With an invention of the internet, time and distance are no longer an issue; and you can enroll in any university both at home and abroad. Living in Iceland isn’t an obstacle to getting an American diploma. Online learning turns some things upside down, and it’s really cool!
- Modern: More and more people use the internet to find information, communicate with peers all over the world…and, yeah, to learn. Online learning is a way to show your competitiveness in a vibrant modern world.
BTW, an overwhelming majority of modern employers are quite comfortable with online degrees: “Schools got better at the delivery models, and hiring managers, particularly in the technology industries, became much more comfortable with it.”
Top Five Limitations of Online Learning
But as we all know, every cloud has a silver lining, so students should be aware of the limitations inherent in online learning:
- Bias: Some recruiters still consider online learning to be inferior to the traditional training. As stated by Mary M. Massad, division president of recruiting services at the HR company Insperity “Not every company is going to view an online degree in HR equally.”
- Requires self-discipline: Self-paced learning demands an iron discipline. Of course, the temptation to postpone all the tasks till the last minute is so great! Many online students fail because they cannot organize their time to achieve performance goals.
- Plagiarism and Cheating: When students aren’t watched by their tutor, they are tempted to plagiarize and cheat. Both are bad ideas and don’t facilitate future competitiveness in the labor market.
- No feedback: Of course, online tutors are doing their best to provide the feedback about your work. However, online learning implies a number of barriers hindering a student-professor dialogue. Imagine, for instance, the situation when a student living somewhere in India skypes his professor sleeping peacefully in Washington, DC:)
- Isolation: When you study on your own, there are few opportunities to communicate with peers and learn in team. Needless to say that some students may feel isolated and, eventually, choose more traditional forms of learning.