Why Do Students Like Online Learning?
By Tome Ferre
Why are students flooding the online learning environment? With over 5 million students enrolled in online colleges, schools and universities (and growing at about 25% per year), there are many compelling reasons for one to attend a online classroom.
|Students can “participate” in a course at any time & anywhere. This means that young parents can first attend to their children, then when that’s finished can participate in class; working adults & students can attend classes no matter what their work schedule might be. Even if it changes weekly. Business travelers or pleasure travelers can attend class from anywhere in the world as long as it has internet access.|
|Courses & materials are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students have the ability to go over and re read lectures, discussions, explanations, demonstrations and comments. Often in the traditional classroom, spoken material goes in one ear and out the other of students by due to a number of distractions, hangovers, missed classes, sleepiness or boredom.
In an online environment, attendance to class is measured only if the student actually participates in classroom discussion. This naturally increases student interaction and the further diversity of classroom opinion, because everyone gets a say, not just those most talkative.
Online learning facilitates “individual student-centered” teaching. Every student has their own way of learning what works best for them. Some find it easier to learn visually while others do better with actions “learn by doing.”
Participating online is far less intimidating than “traditional or classroom.” Being anonymous provides students with a level playing field undisturbed by nerves and/ or bias caused by seating locations, gender, race and age. Students can also ponder about what they want to say and add their comments only when they are ready. In a traditional college class room, the conversation cmay likely have gone past the point where the student is comfortable commenting.
|The instructors tend to have practical knowledge and can also be located anywhere across the globe. This allows students to be exposed to diversity of knowledge that isn’t learned in books and thus understand how class concepts are applied in actual business situations.|
|Using the internet to attend class, research, and interact with other students helps improve skills in using technologies that are critical to workers & businesses in the 21st century often working with colleagues globally and in multiple time zones.
Over 70% of colleges and universities in the U.S. offer some type of online degree programs, with online degrees as respected as “on the ground” degrees.
|Often many online institutions provide “chat areas” for conversation between students, where student bios and non-education related discussions can take place, there appears to be a likelihood of increased bonding and camaraderie over traditional class environments when present.|
|The online environment seems to make instructors appear more approachable. Students can speak openly with their teachers via online chats, email and often in newsgroup discussions, without waiting for limited office hours that may likely be inconvenient. This availability for communication provides the opportunity for enhanced contact between instructors and students.|
|Online course and degree development provides a broad spectrum of content. Students can utilize the school’s library from their PC’s for research articles, ebook content and other material without fear that the material has already been “checked out.”|
|Students often feel that they can truely listen to the comments made by the other participating students. Because everyone gets a chance to contribute, students are less perturbed by those who “over contribute” and often may ask for clarification of any comments that are unclear.|
|Because there are no geographic barriers to online colleges & online learning, students can find diverse course material that may likely not be available to them locally where they live or work. This is especially true for professional or vocational training such as medical billing training or purchasing training & for students in remote or rural areas that cannot support college or vocational training centers based on population and transportation distance.|
|Online classrooms can also facilitate team learning by providing special chatrooms and newsgroups for team meetings and joint work. This helps to eliminate the problems of mismatched schedules, finding a mutually convenient meeting location and distributing work for review between meetings.|
|Students often comment that online learning lets them attend class when they are fully awake and also attend in increments of convenient time blocks, rather than rigid 2 or 4 hour stretches once or twice a week or nights & weekends.|
While “brick and mortar” institutions will never be go away, it’s clear to see why a growing number of people are attending class in the online college world. They may be reasons of accessibility, flexibility or quality, all equally compelling and together contributing to the vast attractiveness of this growing method of learning.