Online education, also called e-learning, is any education process that uses electronic technology to replace the traditional classroom. Students complete the learning process partially or completely online. A teacher may deliver lectures to students via live streaming or recorded content. Some online classes are even interactive, allowing students to speak with instructors and peers in real time. Online education always involves an instructor who communicates with students and helps to convey the material. Students complete assignments and take tests just like in a regular class, but access to the classes is expanded beyond one physical classroom.
College students have a wide array of online learning opportunities. Although distance learning is a viable option for students not physically present on a college campus, even students attending classes on campus can benefit from distance learning. Often, online courses are beneficial because they allow students to fit additional classes into their schedules. Students with disabilities also benefit from the ability to take online classes since it allows them to avoid the logistical challenges that might come with attending classes in traditional classrooms.
Benefits abound with online learning, aside from the obvious advantage of flexibility in scheduling. Not only can students fit classes into their schedules at any time of the day or night, but they can also attend the classes anywhere that they can connect to the Internet. And non-native English speakers often find online classes easier to navigate because they can review and repeat lectures and class material as many times as necessary to understand complex concepts.
Online classes are often more affordable than traditional courses for several reasons. First, students do not have the expense of traveling to and from classes, which can include gas and parking fees. Online instructors often use free or open-source textbooks, which makes taking these classes much more affordable. Submitting assignments electronically eliminates the need to print materials, which also reduces costs.
Taking an online class forces students to use technology in new and different ways. These processes help students to expand their computer and technological skills, which has far-reaching benefits. Students will use these skills immediately in their online classes, and they can also apply what they’ve learned in the future in professional settings. Another surprising benefit of online education is an increase in student engagement. Instructors often report that students in online classes have a higher level of engagement and involvement. Students tend to participate more thoughtfully when they can do so electronically instead of face-to-face in the classroom. Students who might be shy or reserved in the classroom may feel more comfortable communicating electronically. It’s also common for instructors in electronic learning environments to actually provide more personalized attention to students than they would be able to give in a traditional classroom.
To succeed with online learning, students need to carefully consider their options. The course selection process is important for success. With a wide variety of courses available, students must review the terms and features of classes carefully to choose high-quality courses without hidden expenses, such as having to pay extra for a certification test. Evaluating the instructor, the coursework, and the formats used for presenting the curriculum is crucial.
Students must also organize their studies to ensure that they spend regular and sufficient time on coursework to ensure completion within the time frame of the class. It’s easy to put off studying, only to have to finish all of the work all at once before the end of the course. This approach often ends in failure. For best results, students should space out their study time over the entire length of the course. Students must also complete all assignments to succeed. If any struggles occur with a class, reaching out to the instructor for extra help and coaching should help resolve problems.
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