Online Education – A Good Fit Or Not?
When we speak of online, many things come into our minds. It might be through the computer online, the online shopping, online banking, online gaming etc. But very few of us understand online education. Education meant for distance learning is very different from the online education which is available through e-mail.
An online school is generally regarded as online when it has established a secured connection with the Internet. In other words, it is a computer network which has been given permission by a network administrator to make use of the Internet for educational purposes only. Online in this case means that the student and teacher are both connected to the Internet through various computer systems and can exchange and receive educational data online. The term blended learning therefore implies that there are some online classes or programs where the teaching and learning processes take place over the Internet as well.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with online learning and offline browsing in terms of time, cost, content etc. In order to gain advantage online, it is necessary to have an internet connection and some amount of dedication and motivation towards the task. For online learning, one has to buy textbooks, attend classes and do online research etc. So a person who is not interested in doing anything but just reading books for fun and information could not go for an online state school. But a person who wants to improve his knowledge or get a better job could do so if he goes for online learning.
In online classes, it is necessary to pay for the material separately and for this, one has to buy books online. This has the disadvantage of having to pay high costs because the cost of printing, paper and other resources required in a traditional classroom would not be much higher when used for online learning. So in an online classroom, the teacher may not always be able to provide enough materials for the students to use. Also, since you cannot physically see your classmates, there is the possibility of not getting all the topics or information that you missed in class. In a traditional classroom, this is not a problem because the students can access any information that they want without any difficulty.
Also, it is important to note that both face-to-face and online classes have their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, it is possible that a person who attends a traditional class is unable to join a discussion forum or meet his teacher face to face. He will not be able to grasp the concepts behind the lectures and it could be difficult for him to grasp the subject matter. This is especially true for older people, as they tend to slow down a lot more than younger people. On the other hand, online modules allow the person to grasp the subject matter at his/her own pace.
Hence, the choice between online study at home or a classroom at a traditional college is largely a matter of preference. However, a combination of both is always a good idea. The only thing that one should be cautious about is the selection of the blended learning module. It should be such that it facilitates effective interaction on multiple levels, such as face-to-face communication at the classroom level, online discussion patterns and exercises, as well as hands-on application of the theories learnt in class. A good combination of these factors ensures a successful online education.