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What the Future Holds for Online Education

Online EducationIn the present times, when a majority of American toddlers seem equally comfortable with a touchscreen and a crayon, you would have to be remiss to believe that the present education model, which is classroom based, will survive in the next 10 years. Change is thoroughly evident especially in higher education, where MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses account for a primary share of academic content. However, to what extent can online learning derail classroom learning?

Web-centered education technology has seen both the highs and lows, in terms of adoption and rates of course completion. Moreover, proponents of online education have given an assurance that the brick-and-mortar classroom is on the verge of a drastic change.

Online education companies are collaborating with reputable American institutions, such as American University, Georgetown, USC, and Berkeley, offering an incredible online learning experience that are at par or better than the quality of campus education.

To know how online learning squares up with brick-and-mortar education, we need to first analyze the advantages of online learning. Therefore, let’s get cracking.

Advantages of Online Learning

Advantages Platforms that are Internet based have empowered citizens to facilitate or replace many interactive processes such as banking, dating, and shopping. Education might turn out to be the next big thing for web-based expediency, and there are plenty of reasons for it.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Nearly 300 lecture hours at MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley are available on YouTube completely free of any charge. MOOCs have been designed to be free for participating students and open to absolutely anyone. Several other online education platforms are extremely affordable for the user. These online platforms are scalable due to their reduced overhead in comparison with brick-and-mortar schools and colleges.

  • Convenience: Online learning systems allow students to take up courses according to their own time and pace. This feature makes online learning extremely convenient in comparison with their in-person counterparts. Most courses are equipped with online communities and forums, which add to the advantages of these distance-learning programmes.

  • Ease of access: Profit-driven colleges were the early adopters of online education because it gave them the ability to entice customers who would, in all probability, skip higher education. MOOCs and several other online courses entice and retain a myriad range of student backgrounds, experiences, geographies, and motivating factors.

  • Customizability: Online courses offer students tremendous flexibility in choosing where, when, how, what, and how much topics they learn. This helps in developing tailor-made and customized courses that serve the student community well.

  • Preparation: Future employers are more likely to offer jobs to those candidates who are well versed with dynamic learning. This may seem like a self-serving assertion; however, if we take into consideration the fact that online courses are increasingly implemented in large corporations as a training tool, the argument may well turn out to be true.

According to renowned educationists, the lack of innovation in American classrooms is the reason for the underperformance of American students when compared to those of other countries worldwide. Therefore, the solution lies in customized learning via technological innovation.

A Long Way to Go, Say the Numbers

In the year 2012, nearly 6.7 million students participated in at least 1 online course, demonstrating an all-time high of 32% of students enrolled for higher education. According to the Babson Study, which compiled all these data, this 9.3% yearly enrollment growth rate is by far the lowest in the history of the ten-year series; however, it is still higher than the final enrollment rate when it comes to higher education.

Despite an all-time high enrollment in online courses, the EdX analysis carried out by Harvard and MIT revealed some astonishing rates of attrition. Of the learners participating in the study, 95% students dropped their online course before laying hands on a certificate of completion. Some researchers are of the opinion that such low completion rates are not a cause for bother because they can be misleading.

More productive primary takeaways included the diversity of students, the growing interest of non-traditional students, and the resulting innovation from this kind of experimentation.

Online Courses for Non-Traditional Education

TraditionalismOnline learning has witnessed an uptick in usage, which is outside of higher education. For instance, YouTube, which is replete with educational videos, now features a “how to” for anything and everything from 6-pack abs and magic tricks to tying bow-ties effectively and obtaining that perfect smoky eye. An increasing number of formal, web-based courses have been made available in scores of sectors.

Online education modules are assisting in a small way for preparing a completely clean energy workforce, equipped with solar installation training, courses in energy auditing, and LEED accreditation courses, to name a few. Online certificate programmes make the entire process of attaining credentials a lot easier in diverse areas such as medical assistance and crime scene investigation.

Corporations, too, are reaping the benefits of online learning for training their staff. The balance appears to be shifting from traditional training toward online training in the world of corporate programmes.

Traditionalism vs. Innovation

Traditionalism vs. InnovationSome individuals have a preference for the paperback books. Just as a certain percentage of readers will skip e-books out of appreciation for traditional books (which are tangible), many students still prefer traditional, instructor-led, face-to-face interaction in a classroom. As forms of media change, adherence to tradition may work in the retention of a certain percentage of future student population. However, can a failure for integrating learning technology prove to be detrimental to the long-term sustainability of an educational institution.

Proponents of change in the educational pattern via online courses are not even satisfied when offered a hybrid model. Instead, they want a complete transformation in the system as we know it: one where web-based models forge a connection with working groups through cutting-edge technology, while mini-campuses across the globe recreate communal living for those who seek interaction of those “good college days,” which many are familiar with.

Some researchers have predicted that the lower 25% of each tier of higher education will vanish or merge in the next ten to 15 years.

Schools are a paragon for both tradition and innovation. Educational delivery is most probably going to blend online learning with in-person learning. However, what matters most are the innovator’s success and the young learner’s preferences, as they evolve from students to working professionals. For those competing in the online learning space, trials and errors that have recently occurred are part of the educational process.

While there is remarkable progress with students having begun to adopt online courses on a greater scale, providers of education have not yet concluded if students will throng brick-and-mortar classrooms, which keep them in line or virtual classrooms, which keep them online.