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Online Education: Types, Advantages, Degrees, Masters, PhD

Online Education: Types, Advantages, Degrees, Masters, PhD —With the unprecedented growth of the Internet in the last 20 years, many things about our world have changed including the way people live, communicate, socialize, shop, work and do business. The Internet has transformed the way we thing about problems and solutions, knowledge and learning and so on.

Online education

With the Internet already becoming the largest and most easily accessible repository of information, online schooling has become both desirable and achievable.

What Exactly is Online Education?

In order to clear any doubt or confusion you may have, I need to point out that online education goes by several other names as you may have heard and the name a speaker may choose to use might depend on the personal preference of the speaker and the context within which they are speaking. Online education might be referred to as

  • Computer-based training,
  • Web-based training,
  • Internet-based training,
  • Online training,
  • e-learning (i.e. electronic learning),
  • m-learning (mobile learning),
  • Computer-aided distance education, and do on.

Regardless of the name it is called or the modus operandi, online education must encompass the following definition as its core. It

  • is an electronically supported learning.
  • relies on the Internet for teacher/student interaction.
  • relies on the Internet for distribution of class materials (audio, video, text, animations), giving of assessments, feedback and evaluation.

From the foregoing, we see that online learning is a deviation from the age long mode of learning in traditional classrooms within college campuses. Here, the students, regardless of their location or environment, can join the classes as long as they have Internet access and electricity. This offers both the students and teachers ample flexibility which makes for greater effectiveness of teaching and learning as it is tailored towards anyone’s schedule.

We shall still examine the advantages and benefits of online learning but let me point out for now that this form of education is very suitable for students who wish to acquire their first or additional degrees while working full time or raising families.

Does Online Education Really Work?

Yes, online education works. Actually, it has worked for many students via many colleges, universities and other institutions for years. The online programs and courses are designed and run via the online learning portal of the host institution. There, educational resources (audios, videos, power point presentations and other text materials) are provided for the students. The professors also receive feedback from the students via the same platform.

How Effective is Online Education?

When it is fully set up and optimized, online education has been shown to be more effective than the traditional face-to-face teacher-student instruction mode. Because it is tailored to anyone’s schedule, it can be more engaging, fun and effective as students don’t need to worry about giving up their jobs, traveling or depriving their families of quality time.

Beyond being a more effective option for the students, online learning is certainly better for the environment. It has been found that online education programs saves an average of 90% energy and is more environmental friendly as it leads to fewer emissions of Carbon dioxide per student.

Read Also: The Best Online Colleges for Teaching Degrees

Types of Online Education

We have about four (4) types of online education as explained below:

  • 100% (Fully) Online Education – As the name implies, this is a fully-online degree program. This means that the student has no need to visit the college or university campus. From the beginning to the acquisition of the prospective degree, the student does everything from the comfort of their home.
  • Hybrid Education – Hybrid education is a model that is neither fully online nor in-person. Here, some students attend lecture in-person while others join the same lecture online from their houses. When it is designed and planned well, hybrid education combine the best aspects of on-campus and online learning while making education more accessible to many students.
  • Online Courses – Online courses may or may not be part of a degree program. Where they are not part of a degree program, they can be taken on their own for self-development. They may also be taken to master a certain subject, to increase technical know-how or to learn a specific skill.
  • MOOCs – MOOCs stands for a Massive Open Online Courses. They are online courses that are delivered in lecture form and are aimed at large-scale participation of students. It guarantees open (free) access via the internet.

What is the Best Online Education Platform?

There are many wonderful online education platforms apart from those run by colleges and universities. I’m going to make a list of the best or top 7:

  1. The Overall Best: Udemy.
  2. Best for Creative Fields: Skillshare.
  3. Best for Celebrity Lessons: MasterClass.
  4. The Best for College Classes: Coursera.
  5. Best Pedigree: EdX.
  6. Best for Tech: Udacity.
  7. The Best for Data Learning: Pluralsight.

What are the advantages of online education?

Yes, online education has many benefits but that does not mean that it is easier because online institutions must meet the same quality requirement as their traditional counterparts. The advantages here border majorly on the fact that some students do not have a college or university in the cities where they live. Those who do may be unwilling to quit their full-time jobs or leave their family to study at a university. So they opt for online education to earn their degree while balancing family and professional duties

Here are 7 Important Benefits of Online Education:

  1. Work from anywhere, at any time: I’ve already mentioned this above and it is the most appealing of all the benefits of online education especially for students with very busy schedules.
  2. Review lectures instantly and easily: In case of distractions, the student can easily replay the sentence or re-watch the video from professors instantly. They can do so by rewinding the audio/video or by reading the lecture transcript.
  3. Many introverted students in physical classroom environments are not bold enough to speak in public. But in an online environment, it becomes much easier for them to share their thoughts with the professors and fellow students. In other words, online education engenders greater class participation.
  4. Online classes offer more time to think and process information before sharing. This is achieved via students online forum or discussion board. Again, this is unlike students on campus who have to choose a stance or formulate a thought quickly and speak even before they have fully examined everything.
  5. Flexible learning schedule: This is only obtainable in online learning environments. The student can choose to split his lecture into small digestible parts and assimilate them gradually. This is unlike on-campus students who would normally endure lectures that last hours.
  6. Lower cost: Apart from the normal course fee which may be the same for both online course and traditional course, students offering online courses can save money by avoiding lab fees, commuting costs, parking, hostels, etc.
  7. Diversity: The online student is not limited to courses and teachers close to home. He can take a Chinese course from a teacher in China and so on.

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About Henry Divine

Henry Divine is a passionate educator and seasoned blogger with a strong commitment to providing valuable insights and resources to the education community. With over 6 years of experience in the field, Henry's articles are well-researched, authoritative, and tailored to meet the needs of teachers, students, and parents alike. Through his blog, Henry aims to empower readers with practical tips, innovative strategies, and evidence-based practices to foster lifelong learning and academic success. Follow Henry for the latest updates and expert advice on all things education.

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