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To help you take a stand on the issue (if you don't already have one), we've put together some interesting facts that we hope you'll find useful.
1. Online learning is here to stay.
The first online program hosted by an accredited institution appeared in 1986. Since then, it has been nothing but a success. These days, 1/3 of America's 21 million students use one or more forms of online learning.
2. There is no significant difference in learning outcomes.
According to a 30-year study conducted with the U.S. Department of Education - U.S. Department of Education, no evidence was found that online education is of lesser quality than that conducted in a traditional classroom. Unfortunately, advocates of online learning, explaining how much more convenient it is, have led people to perceive it as easier. But in reality, online courses can also be quite complex, and it mainly depends on the person developing it. On the other hand, the development of information technology has made it possible to present complex courses in a more lightweight and easy to understand format. Another fact to note is related to the possibility of working at any time from any place - this allows learners maximum readiness for learning, compared to the time and space fixed formats of traditional training.
3. Online learning is widespread.
80% of U.S. accredited institutions of higher education offer online learning.
4. Online learning takes many forms.
Online learning formats range from simple text-based courses in electronic format to multimedia and feature-rich courses - with a high degree of interactivity, access to external links, animations, and high-quality simulations.
5. So-called Massive open online courses do not provide high quality education.
Contrary to popular opinion created by the media, the benefits of these courses are not related to the educational progress achieved, but to their cost. The fact that such mega courses can originate from elite universities has led some people to decide that they have ushered in a new form of online learning. But in reality - they haven't.
6. Online learning suits more mature people much better than younger people.
For older and more motivated people, online programs offer significantly better results than traditional classroom learning. For younger people, however, online education comes with a bit more difficulty, as its nature requires greater doses of self-organization, persistence, and perseverance.
7. Educational institutions can save a lot of money if they emphasize online courses.
Schools and higher education institutions can save considerable money if they start to run their courses predominantly online, as the need to rent classroom space will be reduced. On the other hand, however, the need for additional IT support remains. In our view, the biggest financial difference will be for students. They can be located anywhere in the world, yet they will not have to spend money on travel, accommodation, nannies, etc.
8. Online education may soon become the norm for the "post-traditional" and will be the preferred means of education for people who cannot afford traditional education.
Online education will prosper, but that does not mean it will replace traditional education entirely. Society will always feel the need for educational and research institutions in which to continue to discover and create the content that online learning promotes so well.