By Julie Perrigan
People around the world are feeling the effects of the job market becoming more competitive by the day. In most industries, individuals are realizing the importance of continued education to stay ahead of the curve. Although sources such as The Global Partnership for Education show that a year of additional education is said to increase an individual’s earnings by up to 10 percent, many individuals still find it difficult to find the time or resources to actually get this additional education. That’s why many people turn to online education. The 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by Babson Survey Research Group and College Board revealed that the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million. If you are considering utilizing online courses but are on the fence about it, consider the following statistics gathered by The Pew Internet & American Life Project in its report, The Digital Revolution and Higher Education:
- 54 percent of leaders of for-profit college and universities state their online courses offer the same value as their classes taught in person.
- 39 percent of all adults who have taken a class online say that format’s educational value is equal to that of a course taken in a traditional classroom.
- According to a 2009 study from the Department of Education, “Students who took all or part of a class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. Students who mix online learning with traditional coursework do even better.”
Consider these additional benefits of online learning:
One of the most cited advantages of online learning is the flexibility and convenience that it offers. Online courses give students the opportunity to attend classes wherever they have Internet access. By having the ability to access course materials at any time of the day, students can study in a setting and pace that works for them and can even work a full-time job while taking courses.
The average tuition for online and traditional schools can vary greatly based on many factors; however the cost of online schools can save students money on expenses experienced at traditional schools such as gas and commuting costs as well as housing.
Online learning gives students an abundance of options which can be very beneficial to the learning process. Online courses can give students the opportunity to enroll in degree programs from schools which they may have not been physically able to attend. This allows people the chance to connect with top-notch professors around the country without having to leave their home.
While traditional schools offer office hours for students to meet with instructors, online schools come equipped with an array of interactive tools, online chats, discussion boards and online forums that allow students to engage with other students and instructors instantly. This gives students the chance to discuss questions as they arise rather than simply waiting for the next class session.
Virtual learning tools such as online demonstrations, videos and recorded classroom sessions allow students to fully immerse themselves in the course and content through different mediums that may help them learn faster or retain information at a higher rate.
The key to learning is to find what works for your learning style and current lifestyle. Students are no longer bound to the traditional classroom setting. While online learning may not be for everyone, it is worth exploring to see if it is a style of learning that ultimately improves your educational experience and offers the flexibility you may be looking for to gain the additional education to stay ahead of the curve. Achieve your personal and educational goals by figuring out what the best learning options are for you.
About the Author
Julie Perrigan currently writes for DeVry University, a higher education organization offering on campus and online degree programs. Visit DeVry.edu to get started today.