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In the modern world, the technologies are constantly moving forward; as a result, the education field has to keep up with the changes of the current day (Harasim, 2000). Online education has been gaining more and more popularity in the course of the recent years, creating heated debates around the issue of the effectiveness of online educating courses as compared to the traditional college education (Appana, 2008). At the present moment, the education and training have the biggest impact on the success in the life of not only the young graduates but the adults as well. A broad variety of new and essential information becomes accessible to people all over the world every day. For that reason, the highly competent professionals have to be constantly aware of the fresh produces, services, and developments in their industries. On the other hand, in order to stay competent, the specialists are forced to devote a vast majority of their time, energy, financial expenses, and professional skills to further studies and refresher courses (Harasim, 2000).
Distance learning grants the individuals with the opportunity to save time for their practice at the same time as receiving a quality education. In addition, online education is often cheaper and more cost-effective in comparison to the traditional college education (Li & Irby, 2008). The primary objective of this essay is to outline the main strong and weak points of distance learning and determine whether it is worth the attention of the modern students. Furthermore, in order to outline the primary advantages and disadvantages of the distance learning, it is essential to understand that the phenomenon of the online education has initially emerged the supplementary procedure for the traditional college education (Harasim, 2000). Over the years, on the other hand, it has gained more incentive on its own in order to support those students who do not have a lot of opportunities for conventional college learning.
Online education is an impeccable choice for those individuals who are eager to obtain their second degree, be admitted into the training practice, or advance their experience and knowledge. It is a common known fact that in a case when a person already possessed a solid base of knowledge before starting the process of distant learning (Appana, 2008). Nonetheless, in a case, if a student decides to take up the online education as his or her first choice in higher education or select a completely new occupation, distant learning is more likely to be confusing and insufficient to accumulate a solid base of knowledge in the first place (Ally, 2004).
The most positive benefits of the process of the online include the convenience and flexibility of the courses and their schedule that the students are free to choose for themselves. In addition, those students who have decided to start distant learning process receive a chance to have access to their courses at any moment (Li & Irby, 2008). Furthermore, they can gain access to the virtual classroom from any place, in the majority of cases. As a result, the parents, students with full-time day jobs, and those specialists who are constantly on the road are granted with the chance of being present at their classes with no regard to their work calendar. To sum up, in order to receive the online education, the students only require their computers and access to the World Wide Web. The ease of accessibility is a huge advantage of the distant learning in the quickly moving modern world (Appana, 2008).
Apart from the time saving benefit of online education, the cost-effectiveness of the distant learning attracts more and more students every year. With the help of the distant education, the students might have an opportunity to cut back on the expenses by not being forced to attend their courses in person. According to the recent research, students are able to save more than $60,000 on their education by enrolling into the online courses and receiving their degree faster in comparison to the traditional educational institutions (Casement, 2013). For instance, the San Jose University “charges $150 per course compared with the normal rate of $450 to $750” (Casement, 2013, p. 17). The bigger portion of lesser expenses of online education is connected to the fact that the students are not forced to purchase expensive textbooks, in comparison to the traditional college education (Li & Irby, 2008). For the reason that the online classes usually do not have a need of the physical materials, the universities offer a wide range of electronic books in their libraries, allowing the applicants to save even more money as they receive their degree.
In addition, the distance learning allows the students to concentrate more on the marketable skills in their education, which results in the graduates being more suitable for the future employers (Alzuru & Marquart, 2015). This can be explained by the fact that the distance learning is intended to be short and flexible, which calls for the implementation of the most current, valuable and marketable subjects into the online program. According to the book ‘Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States’, the year 2013 demonstrated the rapid increase in the amount of the graduate and postsecondary students up to 6.5 million individuals, who decided to take up at least several online classes in order to gain valuable marketing skills in their professions (Allen & Seaman, 2013). Furthermore, the Harvard University, for instance, acknowledges the importance of online learning by implementing various marketable courses into its curriculum.
In spite of the obvious benefits of the distant learning, this branch of the education process has several negative implications to it, including the inadequate accreditation of the online courses that are offered by the educational institution and the insufficient amount of face-to-face communication of an online student with the tutors and other classmates. Recent research demonstrates that “29 percent of the general public thinks virtual classrooms offer a comparable quality of learning to their physical counterparts” (Casement, 2013, p. 16). Prior to making a decision about taking up an online course, a student has to make sure that these courses are accredited (Ally, 2004; Li & Irby, 2008). A vast majority of the online students usually neglect to verify the accreditation of the online courses with the accrediting agency, which leads to wasted time and energy on the valueless degree upon graduating from an online university. The verification of the course accreditation is an easy but yet important step in the online education process, which is expected to guard the students in their choice of an educational institution. One possible solution to this problem, apart from checking online, is to conduct a research on the acceptability of the chosen online institution by the prospective employer. In addition, the accreditation of the online courses guarantees more technical and academic support from the tutors and other personnel of the education institution, which is critical for the further success of the students (Appana, 2008).
In conclusion, online learning has gained significant popularity in the course of the last ten years, and even more improvements in this branch of education are expected to arise. The supporters of distant learning constantly find new methods of improving the image of the online education; moreover, the recent technological progress has a substantial impact on the benefits, which the online universities might propose to their students (Ally, 2004). Openings for accessibility, cost-efficiency, and knowledge improvement are among the most significant aspects, which help to develop the positive image and further growth of the distant education in the modern world.
Ally, M. (2004). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. Theory and Practice of Online Learning, 2, 15-44.
Appana, S. (2008). A review of benefits and limitations of online learning in the context of the student, the instructor, and the tenured faculty. International Journal on ELearning, 7(1), 5.
Casement, W. (2013). Will online learning lower the price of college?. Journal of College Admission, 220, 14-18.
Harasim, L. (2000). Shift happens: Online education as a new paradigm in learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 3(1), 41-61.
Li, C. S., & Irby, B. (2008). An overview of online education: Attractiveness, benefits, challenges, concerns and recommendations. College Student Journal, 42(2), 449-458.
Alzuru, M. T., & Marquart, M. S. (2015). Online students develop marketable professional skills. Educause Review Online. Retrieved from https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac%3A187049
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. Sloan Consortium. PO Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950.