Covid-19 had been a big blow to many systems around the globe, and the education system was no exception. With campuses shutting down and the scare of the virus spreading more there followed a stream of cancellations and postponing of lectures and exams, bringing studies to a halt for everyone. Globally, approximately 1.2 billion students were barred from attending educational institutions.
The education sector responded by streamlining online education. Though online education was already taking place before the pandemic, it was during and after this worldwide setback that it got traction. The growth of educational technology and the investment in the Edtech market grew to US$18.66 billion in 2019. The National Center of Educational Statistics states that in 2018, 34.7% of college students enrolled in at least one online course. It was a less than two percent increase from 2017 to 2018. But the number of students enrolled in fully or partially online programs ballooned in 2020. The registrations on edX through November 2020 were 161% higher than the numbers during the same period last year.
So if you are a professional who doesn’t get time from your busy schedule to continue your studies, opting for an online degree might be the best option. Here are some of the benefits of distance education.
First is the flexible nature of online education. You are not bound to stay in one place and go to classes to attend the lecture every day. You can travel the whole world and still finish your course on time. The students don’t need to enroll in their own country or city only. You can be sitting in your house in some part of Africa and still attend lectures delivered in one of the prestigious European universities. The same flexibility and freedom are available to teachers as well. They can record the course effortlessly, engage with the student over emails and be with their families.
As a student, you can study when you are the most productive and attend the classes accordingly. For instance, you might be more energetic in the evening than in the morning. You can follow the lessons when your concentration level is peeking.
The best part about distance learning is the variety of options at your discretion. You can opt for a degree from a different state or even another country. Suppose you are a healthcare professional working as a nurse; you’d barely find the time to go out and attend classes. Opting for an online program would be the best choice for you. All you need is to go online and look for the best universities and programs. The best part is that you can opt for a program in any other state because you don’t need to travel or be there physically. For example, you could opt for nursing schools in Missouri while sitting in Virginia. How great is that?
Low cost is another benefit of distance learning. Unlike traditional programs, you can take the lecture from your house. The institution benefits from reduced utility bills and cut other variable expenses. They can work with the minimum human resource. In online mode, the highest cost of the institutions is lecturers’ salaries and research funding. This reduction in cost reaches students too, and they have to pay less for the same course others took in the past.
Moreover, no transportation costs on the part of students, and most books and resources are available in PDF. There are no incidental costs associated with the student’s stay on the campus, such as food, renting, or accommodation.
Many students prefer to study in close circles where they don’t have to interact with many people or be in a crowd. It is not possible to help such students through traditional classroom setups. Moreover, students have their own pace of learning too. In a physical classroom, you have to match the learning speed of your peers. Online education eliminates these issues and provides a conducive environment for all students based on learning abilities and personality traits. It is at the students’ discretion to interact with their peers or be part of the learning forums.
Online education can accommodate the need of students with disabilities who often face commuting issues. Such students can take classes while sitting on the comfy couch in their house. Similarly, there are tools for deaf and hard-of-hearing students; they can slow down the speed of the lecture or listen to it repeatedly until they grasp the concept. Online education is evolving continuously, trying to address the needs of disparate students. Doing so is impossible in a physical classroom setting.
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Car breaking down in the morning, getting late for class in the morning, does that sound familiar? Such issues are prevalent in students’ lives. But you won’t face such problems when enrolled in an online program. Time is not a hurdle. You can listen to the lectures at a time that suits you best according to your schedule. A mom can take the lessons when the kids are sleeping; a professional can attend their classes before going to the office in the early morning or after coming back in the evening. For the teachers, it saves time too. Online education has enticed many married couples and professionals to return to school and complete their education. They can share their responsibilities at home and simultaneously take classes too.
In a traditional class, you have to deal with many naughty students who chat, pass notes, and interrupt with questions— you know the struggle. Not in an online class. There are fewer distractions; you can focus on the lecture and take all the questions at the end. Students also have less chance to chat during class. It saves a lot of time for the teachers. They can work on preparing their lectures, attending to student emails, and preparing extra learning material and whatnot. Moreover, all the material is available online so that the students can consult.
There is also no distraction for the more focused students. They don’t have to match the pace of the class. If they are doing well, they can consult extra material and move ahead in the course.
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Even though the scare of the pandemic has almost subsided, online education is still booming. The streamlining of online education became a ray of hope for parents and students across the globe. Online education has become a messiah for students deprived of education because of the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Students have returned to education; there is an unprecedented increase in the number of students enrolled in online programs. The flexibility of time and space, low cost of the programs, and absence of distractions have become deciding factors for many students globally.