Posted by Christy Williams on June 16th, 2016
Online education has seen a tremendous rise over the last few years. More learners are taking advantage of pursuing college coursework in blended and online formats. As with any new advancements, there are a number of pros and cons associated with online classes. Benefits range from greater flexibility to financial savings. Cons include lack of personal interaction and accountability concerns.
Some of the most common benefits include:
- Flexibility: The flexible formatting of online college courses allows learners to work on their own schedules while still attending to their other obligations and responsibilities. The flexibility permits students to fit classes into their own schedules.
- Technology Driven: The pacing and nature of online classes require the use of innovative technologies. The technology is designed to accommodate collaboration through the use of shared work boards, chat capabilities, portals for document sharing and much more. The tools close the gaps in distance and communication. Many of the technology skills used will also carry over into the workplace as jobs continue to incorporate more technological innovations.
- Affordability: In some cases, online courses are less expensive than traditional courses. The savings come in the form of less materials being purchased and less money spent on travel.
Among the disadvantages are:
- Limited Internet Access: Online coursework requires consistent access to reliable internet connection. For some students this may be a challenge requiring them to travel to a friend’s house, community center, local library or other facility.
- Social Challenges: Online classes limit the amount of real time social interactions. The lack of physical interaction can sometimes make learners feel as though they are isolated in their experience.
- Self-discipline and Accountability: Participation in online classes requires self-discipline to create a schedule and stay on task with assignments. Time management skills are essential to meet the deadlines. Learners must also stay accountable for integrity in the completion of their assignments.
The increase in availability of online coursework has students considering various options for completing an education. Some students choose traditional classroom-based learning while others consider completely online or blended models.
As learners determine what works best for them, they have a number of details, both positive and negative, to take into consideration. With online learning students have the ability to choose a schedule that works for them while simultaneously saving. They are also afforded access to changing technologies making collaboration possible.
However, the students must determine whether they have the accountability and time management skills necessary to sustain the online learning model. Students that are more social in their learning style must also decide if the individual learning model works for them. Overall, online coursework provides additional options for students to tailor a learning approach that best meets their individual needs.