A couple of decades ago, people who wanted to gain new knowledge were forced to attend educational institutions and libraries regularly. Today, you only need a computer with Internet access for learning. In this article, the experts from pro-papers.com will consider the main positive and negative trends in online education.
Pros of online learning
You can gain knowledge from anywhere in the world, study at home or on a trip, in a cafe or a country house – in general, wherever the Internet is available. You are not limited to a certain city or even a continent, free to receive education in any university on the planet. Such accessibility is the main advantage of distance learning.
A student masters most of the material independently. That is why one is free to choose to study time. Distance learning is very convenient for people who prefer to adhere to a non-standard schedule. Also, this education form goes well with work. As a rule, the time of studies can be easily adjusted to almost any office schedule.
3. Saving money and time
An important advantage of distance learning is its relatively low cost. Of course, among various online courses and schools, there are those whose price is several times higher than the cost of standard university education. But these are rather exceptions. For the most part, distance education is cheaper. This is explained by the fact that organizations providing learning services do not need to rent premises, buy furniture, equipment and maintain a permanent staff of professors.
If studying remotely, a person does not depend on transport. In addition to the financial economy, this allows saving a lot of free time.
4. Specific knowledge
Distance learning gives a person a specific set of skills and narrow knowledge. You will get exactly what you pay for.
Everyone who studied at a university probably faced superfluous subjects that did not fit into a chosen major. Humanists are often tortured with mathematics, techies – with philosophy, and everyone is tortured with physical education. Understanding that knowledge gained will never come in handy, young people often ask hired essay writers to “do my paper for me” in order not to waste time.
Distance learning is free from the excesses of traditional education. If you pay for programming courses, you will not be forced to run and jump.
5. Relevance of knowledge
In recent years, the prestige of traditional education has declined markedly. Many people with a university degree do not find work in their field. Graduates of technical faculties become managers in offices. Former humanitarian students become sales assistants.
In contrast, the prestige of distance learning is growing. Today, a person who has studied a particular course remotely is in an advantageous position, has more chances to apply knowledge in practice than a person who was studying abstract disciplines inapplicable in real life for years.
Cons of online learning
1. Limited choice
Unfortunately, not everything can be studied remotely. In some cases, students cannot do without practical training under the guidance of an experienced mentor. You can study history or literature online, become an excellent designer or a programmer. But you cannot become a pilot or a surgeon.
Perhaps the situation will change soon. One day, virtual reality technology will allow people from different parts of the world to take part in collaborative lab work. When this happens, a list of professions and skills that can be mastered remotely will expand greatly.
2. Lack of personal communication
While receiving a traditional higher education, a student stays in a special university atmosphere for several years, interacts with teachers and classmates in an informal setting. Such communication can generate amazing ideas and change the fates of people dramatically. If Bill Gates has been studying at Harvard remotely, he would never have met Steve Ballmer and would not have founded Microsoft.
3. Lack of positive side effects
The fact that distance learning gives a person a specific set of skills and knowledge can be considered not only as a plus but also a minus. Studying remotely, a person deprives oneself of many positive side effects of traditional education.
For example, notes-taking on long lectures trains writing speed develops memory and teaches young people to extract the most important fragments from an information flow. All these skills are very useful in everyday life, but distance learning does not form them.
4. Dependency on technology
You will probably encounter unforeseen circumstances that will disturb you in the process of distance learning. For example, electricity may be turned off or a computer may be broken at the most inopportune moment. The Internet can disappear right during an important online seminar, and you will not be able to correct the situation. Remote learning makes people dependent on technology.
Of course, you can get stuck in an elevator on the way to a university. But if you have already reached a physical place of study, there are not many factors that can interfere with obtaining knowledge.
5. Lack of control
Lack of constant professors’ control is a minus that can be easily confused with a plus. But not everything is so simple. At first, a student may enjoy additional freedom. But it may worsen academic performance, lead to low marks or even expelling from a course.
Distance learning requires strong motivation and rigid self-discipline from a person. You will have to draw up your learning plans and monitor their implementation, struggle constantly with the desire to relax and postpone homework.
6. Low reliability
It is not always possible to check the qualifications and professional background of online lectures. By and large, anyone who has the Internet may hold seminars, pretend to be a high-level specialist and issue fake diplomas.
Make sure you pay to a reliable educational center whose certificate will be valued on the labor market. The safest option is entering online departments of reputable colleges and universities which also provide traditional education.
Avoid charlatans who promise to reveal amazing secrets of success if you pay a large sum of money. They are very likely to promote some unscientific nonsense or simply disappear after you transfer the payment for the first semester.
Distance learning will inevitably force you to fight with the most severe opponent – your laziness. If you are not ready for this fight, better do not start it at all. However, if you are confident in your abilities and committed to learning, distance education will offer you a variety of opportunities for professional and personal growth.