Online Learning: Boom Or Bust?
Online learning has virtually exploded over the last decade and what was once a few experimental classes being offered by select institutions has developed into something astronomically larger! In fact, online learning now accounts for nearly half of the post-secondary education courses offered at many universities.
Why the shift and what does online learning offer?
To answer this, we will first address the limitations of traditional forms of learning and then the ways in which online learning fills the gap!
Face to face learning has long been accepted as the dominant educational modality, but it poses problems of cost, convenience, and scale. It is expensive to run educational institutions, staff them with appropriate instructors and it’s difficult to readily expand to suit an increasing need. This form of education is often inaccessible to students due to its cost, geographical limitations and class size restrictions.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Online learning, however is in some ways the antithesis of these troubles and offers a viable alternative learning environment for anyone who wishes to partake. The cost is typically a fraction of face-to-face learning models and there is immense flexibility for students to learn around a busy schedule.
A well known report by Babson Survey Research Group has shown a steadily increasing number of students opting for online learning modalities. Both qualitative and quantitative measures of their success show that these students perform as well if not better in their courses than students who are engaged in standard face to face learning. The Babson report also indicates that over 70% of academic leaders believe that measurable learning outcomes for online students are equal to or greater than for traditional face to face students
Is Online Learning Just a Fad?
Online learning programs are becoming increasingly adaptive, allowing students to reach their full potential faster and easier than in a classroom setting. In essence, we now have the option of personalized curriculum adaptations and assessments scaled for limitless potential and reach. Students can access online learning options starting at any age and continue with them through to the post secondary level.
The Future of Online Learning
The future of online learning is bright, with emerging technologies harnessing the concepts of adaptive learning and curriculum customization. Going forward, educational platforms will have the ability to drastically improve a student’s success because by allowing programs to work proactively, catching and redirecting students who get off track. Detailed learning analytics can log a student’s actions and use the information to customize programs in a way that enhances a student’s success in learning, retention and grades. Redirecting students in a positive direction, which has a direct payoff…success!