By Tom Jager
The eLearning industry is getting bigger than ever. According to the E-Learning Market Trends & Forecast 2014 – 2016 Report, there’s a universal agreement that the global online learning market will continue growing. The global industry for self-paced eLearning reached $35.6 billion in 2011, and it is expected to reach $51.5 billion by the end of 2016.
Students are continuously being pushed to explore eLearning in addition to the college courses they already take. When you opt for the right course provided by a reputable university, the eLearning method can be just as effective as traditional training. That’s really cool for people who don’t go to college; they can learn whatever they want in their own pace. But, you’re already paying to get that traditional education at college. Why should you engage in eLearning, too?
ELearning for College Students: Why Is It a Problem?
Many colleges are already imposing online courses to their students. Students are encouraged to take courses that are entirely instructed through an online platform, as well as hybrid courses, which include both online lectures and scheduled classroom instructions. According to the information provided by Grand Rapids Community College, more than 4,000 students of this college take online courses each semester.
When an eLearning course is imposed by the college, it has to come with a semester schedule, weekly assignment deadlines, and requirements for discussion engagement. Basically, the requirements are the same with those that come with on-campus courses. So, the promise that you can “learn at your own pace” is not really true. You’ll still have a pile of homework to do, so you’ll end up asking for writing assistance at Proessaywriting and similar services. In other words, online learning is not making your life any easier. Online courses used to be somewhat easier when compared to on-campus curriculums, but the bar has been raised.
There are few other problems with eLearning courses:
- Not everyone likes the virtual classroom. No matter how hard the instruction tries to connect through videos, articles, and discussion boards, some students feel like they are not getting the learning experience they deserve. A student who’s used to the traditional classroom environment will miss the opportunity to ask questions during the lecture.
- Some students lack computer literacy. We can’t expect everyone to be tech savvy. The fact that colleges are imposing the need for technological proficiency is problematic. If you don’t have the needed computer skills or you don’t have a stable Internet connection, participating in online classes will be a huge problem.
- Your schedule is already too busy. You have classes, exams, and assignments to take care of, so an online course can add burden that you simply cannot handle. It would be much different if you weren’t at college. People who don’t study find the motivation to learn even if they have jobs. You’re already studying, so this additional activity is not as intriguing as people assume it is.
- Online courses have high dropout rates. Regardless of the fact that instructions do their best to make the programs inspiring, the concept of eLearning impairs a student’s self-motivation. Many learners fall behind the curriculum once they enroll in an online course, and they are not motivated enough to catch up.
Why eLearning Is a Good Idea
Online courses do have pitfalls. Maybe you’ll enroll in an eLearning program and you won’t be motivated enough to complete it. But, what if you are? There are tons of benefits this learning style can provide.
- Online programs cost less. That’s a deciding factor for many institutions to offer such courses to their students. Students can even use massive open online courses to get credits towards their degree. The good news is that these courses are free. Although universities don’t usually accept MOOCs for credit, there are exceptions and this attitude is expected to change in future. Even when you pay for an online course, you pay less. This program does not impose the need for maintaining facilities.
- Although there’s a timeframe and a curriculum that college students need to follow, online courses are still more flexible than traditional ones. Think about it: if you function better at night, you can learn at night. It’s as simple as that! You’re not tied down to specific lecture hours.
- Online courses are great for socially anxious Some students cannot fit into classroom discussions. Not because they don’t have any arguments, but because they are anxious about speaking up. An online course eliminates that obstacle. For these students, it’s much easier to write than to speak. Thus, they can take part in discussion boards just like all other students.
- Research shows that eLearning has faster delivery cycle times when compared to classroom-based instructions. The case studies show that this approach reduces the learning time by at least 25%. Why does that happen? First of all, it doesn’t take any time for the instructor to calm down the classroom before they start presenting the lecture. They don’t get interrupted by questions, comments, and other distractions.
The entire lecture is being represented throughout a single video, presentation, or piece of text. The learner takes that material and sets their own pace. If they are motivated enough, they can speed up the process of learning as much as they are willing to.
- Online courses contribute towards a cleaner, sustainable environment. Open University published the results of a study that showed distance learning involved 87% less energy and 85% lower emissions of CO2 when compared to full-time studies on campus. Campus site utilization and printed materials come with a huge price for our environment. With each online course you take, you’re saving energy and other resources.
So, do you really need eLearning to succeed at college? If your college instructs you to take online courses, then yes, you definitely need to do that. If you’re free to make your own decision, then you’ll have to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of online classes to see if this format of learning fits your style. Hopefully, the information provided in this article will help you make the decision.