An Overview of Online Learning

Lisa R. Parker

Correspondence courses and distance learning have a new name now, known as online learning. Online courses are available for a wide range of subjects that attract many students, and they are available at varying prices. This system of education is gaining a lot of popularity as it offers an economical way of improving one’s educational qualifications.

The five main reasons responsible for the growth of online learning are: access, efficiency, cost, technology and stability. The development in technology is really encouraging a number of people to enhance their educational qualifications. Considering the popularity of this style of education, a number of educational institutes, post secondary, as well as high schools, have started using this medium for imparting education. The easy options for enhancing the educational qualifications enable people to acquire new skills and provide them the opportunities of starting new careers.

There are two ways one can access online courses, open or restricted. The first option enables almost anyone to join a course as long as they have an Internet connection. However, this option doesn’t allow the learner to interact with their instructor. The option of courses is very wide, including courses of university level. This allows anyone to pursue a course that interests him/her.

The courses with restricted access have a definite number of registered students. Such a course allows the student to interact with their instructors. Students completing these kinds of courses are awarded grades after they finish their course.

It is helpful for both, the student and the educator, to have online access to course materials. The instructor or teacher can have his lectures recorded, and then reuse them as many times as he needs. So, the recurring expense is only towards marking and monitoring the communication from students. This substantially reduces the time that educators need to spend, and hence their expense.

A very significant benefit of online courses is the fact that students can access lectures pertaining to their course at their convenience, from anywhere, when having access to the net, so they can purse studies at their own pace. They need not travel to attend classes, and the fee is inclusive of several course materials that the students may need.

The content of the online courses offered by recognized educational institutes has been reviewed by eminent professionals. Several introductory, as well as intermediate courses don’t undergo any change since their content is stagnant. So, these may be reused whenever required.

Since the expense of conducting online courses is low, the fee payable by students is generally lower than the usual courses where the instructors personally deliver the lectures. Reduced fees allow more number of students to continue their education, also allowing them to also save additional money, as there is no need to spend money for commuting to schools.

Technology is exploited to develop tools that help meeting the requirements of students who opt for online education. The use of mobile audio-visual apparatus helps improving online interaction, while new software keeps developing for the management of online courses. Continued improvements in this field will further help better the quality of education, and attract more people to enhance their educational qualification.

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