Research suggests that online learning is proven to improve retention of new information, and often takes less time, which means that the shifts coronavirus currently has brought about may be here to stay. In many parts of the world, with the increased availability of computer networks, the use of textbooks as part of the school curriculum has all but ended. Instead, most children have learned most of what they know by reading their books on their own, using available multimedia tools. The widespread use of internet resources has been reflected in national and state curriculums, with an increasing focus on online learning as the preferred method of education. As a result, a number of states are phasing out the use of textbooks in classrooms, while others are embracing it.
Even if a classroom is being used only occasionally, such as when a class is being offered on-site, there are benefits to online learning. For instance, because there are no set schedules and an instructor is not present, the student can pick his or her time for learning. If a student has a family, working parents, or other responsibilities, he or she can skip class, as long as the instructor is available. In addition, with no direct instructor to dictate how the student should do something, there is more trust in the course, as long as the student follows the course outline.
In addition, online learning allows for flexible scheduling, allowing students to fit learning around their other responsibilities. An online course instructor may be in a completely different state at the start of a course than he or she might be at the end. Therefore, it’s possible to keep an instructor’s contact information on hand and a physical reminder of assignments with an audio recorder in case an instructor needs to check on you during a class period. In addition, students may find themselves frequently attending classes when they would otherwise just have to miss a day or two of school.
One major drawback of online learning is that there may be no one to physically guide the student throughout the course. Instructors and classmates may not be available during some of your class hours, which makes it necessary to self-regulate your learning. You will still need to study and be attentive in order to pass tests and retain what you’ve learned. As long as you can get through the course and learn what you need to know, self-directed learning will serve to greatly reduce the amount of time you’ll need to sit in a classroom. In addition, because there is no instructor to dictate how you should do things, there is the potential for poor decision-making, resulting in poor grades or even failure.
With regards to cost, online learning is almost completely online, which means that it can be completed from home or in a public library. Students also don’t need to pay for textbooks, which reduces costs even further. With less money out of their pockets, students are then free to purchase other material that may be more helpful, which may improve their grades and assist them with their learning process overall. Online courses also tend to be less expensive than traditional classroom courses, as there aren’t any travel or parking expenses incurred by the student.
The biggest draw to online learning is that it allows you to get the information and materials you need without having to attend a classroom. You may have already taken courses on tape and DVD, but with an internet connection, you can access lectures and watch videos without having to leave your home or office. You can also watch live lectures through a webcam and without having to make a physical stop to get something, like a book, to refresh yourself or refresh your memory. With all of these benefits, distance education has certainly become the best way to learn.