The first ever distance learning course…
…was offered by Caleb Phillips in 1728, which consisted of shorthand lessons that were sent to his students every week via post.
Online learning or ‘eLearning’ is where adept professionals and teachers provide classes and supervise education over the Internet to students worldwide. Although a schedule which is characterized by timely submissions of assignments is maintained, you can work on them at your own pace, provided you meet the deadlines. As long as you have a computer or a laptop and an Internet connection, online learning gives you the flexibility to access course material, communicate with trainers/teachers, participate in group discussions (if your program has any), and submit your revised work from anywhere in the world. Unlike campus education, you don’t need to be physically present in a classroom when you are doing an online course.
If you have been contemplating about joining the bandwagon, but can’t seem to make up your mind thanks to the myths revolving around the whole concept of ‘online learning’, this article will help you out and clear those nagging doubts.
Debunking Common Misconceptions About Online Learning
Myth: Online courses are easier. They are fit for anyone and everyone.
Online courses are just as challenging and engaging as the regular courses that are offered on campus by colleges and universities. In fact, online learning is more rigorous, as it expects a student to be self-motivated and ambitious at all times. Although these courses provide the flexibility to adjust the duration and time frame of the course, they are recommended only for those who are dedicated, can practice effective time management, and put in the same efforts that they would in an actual classroom.
Myth: Students can easily cheat in online courses.
Misconduct in eClassrooms in the form of cheating, misbehavior, or unethical practices can easily be traced and tracked. Institutions and faculties offering online education not only have access to tools and technology that can decipher and deter cheating, but they are also adept in making out if a student has cheated. If you do cheat, you will only be fooling yourself, as your aim to gain professional advancement and progression will suffer, making it your own loss.
Myth: Online courses include teaching students how to use a computer.
Having basic understanding of computers and how to use them is a prerequisite before you foray into online education. Likewise, you don’t need to be tech-savvy or a computer whiz in order to be able to take up online education. Some institutes offer start-up courses that focus on training students about the tools and networks that will be used along the length of the course.
Myth: Online courses and assignments can be completed at one’s own pace.
Although online courses render the student with the flexibility of taking up classes at their own convenience, they do have a schedule that sets deadlines for the students. Classroom sessions, discussions, and trainer-student meetings, which are a part of the course, are scheduled on specific dates. Online learning is a structure-based procedure, that requires a disciplined and efficient approach to be successful.
Myth: There are no teachers, or the need for teachers is decimated in online courses.
Online learning, just like classroom learning, is a two-way process, and cannot be completed without a teacher. Although you won’t ‘physically’ meet your trainers in an online study session, you will communicate with them through various means, like chat, email, discussion posts, remote access connections, desktop sharing software, video conferencing, etc.
Myth: Online courses isolate the student, and trim down communication and socialization.
An online student is never isolated, thanks to the infinite number of resources available nowadays. Online learning takes interaction to a different level, with the advent of student communities, discussion forums, and online libraries. These portals engage students in debates and discussions, which are no less fruitful than classroom discussions would be. Not only this, fellow-student groups and team projects encourage teamwork and moral support, which develops a competitive environment, yielding better results.
Myth: Online courses offer lesser or zilch one-on-one interaction between the trainer and student.
Teachers who teach over the web make efforts to get to know their students better, regularly log into classrooms, check their emails for doubts and questions by their students, and discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of potential improvement. Students can use the services of their trainers, mentors, and academic and career counselors, to receive personalized feedback, and discuss their projects and courses on a much deeper level.
Myth: An online course can be completed in a single login session.
A lot of online courses expect students to log in for a specific number of times. This ensures regular and active participation, which in turn ensures optimal learning. Students who log in after long breaks, tend to miss out on a lot of activities that enhance the learning process. Most courses are also interspersed with deadlines, so as to ensure regular logins.
Myth: You can ‘hide’ in an eClass to avoid participation.
Your presence in an eClassroom can be detected, whether you are involved actively in the sessions or are just a passive learner. Moreover, if you are assigned to a team for a project or a job, you need to be accountable for your role and participation in the team. eLearning encourages students to participate in study sessions, which also proves beneficial for their level of confidence and ability to interact.
Myth: Online course degrees aren’t valued much; they are just beautified additions to your resume,
and are not accepted by employers.
It is believed that more than 70% employers hire applicants with online degrees, and almost 85% managers realize that the importance of online learning is equal to that of classroom learning. Online learning may require less time for completion, but it still requires efforts, and all good managers understand that.
The boom in technology has changed the education sector as well. Online education provides just as many opportunities as traditional campus programs do. With a considerable rise in its popularity, and a definite and authenticated status, online learning sure looks like the future of education.