Why Choose an Online Study Program?
Interactive online study programs – what makes them so popular?
Online study and internet based distance learning is here to stay. There are good reasons for online study as there are for traditional classrooms but really well established institutions of higher learning are all adjusting quickly to the online style of educating people - all people. From pre-K children through graduate level students, online learning and study is a major new factor across the educational landscape. That's not to say that all learning is moving to the internet, but there are good reasons that so much learning is happening online today.
The New Interactive Education
The number one reason for the popularity - and the success - of online learning is that it promotes and successfully utilizes the interactivity that's so important to all learning. Interactivity online can take place immediately, and personally, without interfering with the simultaneous interactivity of all of your fellow students.
Any number of busy professionals will guess that interactive online learning is successful because people simply don't have time for traditional, full-time, on-campus study. There are a lot of good arguments to be made for that point of view too. The next big plus for online study is affordability. Online learning requires only a fraction of the overhead to the institution so by nature it is more affordable. Another important factor as is the convenience of not having to travel. Many students simply could never afford to work all day and then travel each night to classes at their local university campus. But issues of affordability and convenience had all already been dealt with even 50 years ago!
Television just never cut it.
Just imagine taking a course for a master's degree or even an undergraduate degree by watching a 10 week series of one-hour long television programs. You could even ask as many questions as you like by mail. The program might even be free, and certainly, you'd be comfortable on your couch, but without the ability to ask and clarify and fully interact with your instructors and your fellow students, the level of actual learning is going to be very low. One might argue that even the level of attention paid by the students is going to be low. Without interactivity, students simply have fewer stakes in the results.
Students today can share and communicate in a virtual learning environment – sometimes far better than they could in a traditional environment. In real time, students can access study materials, audio and video lectures, assignments, handbooks and eBooks. Sharing and trading information is usually encouraged and there is none of the social pressure of the normal university setting. You’re normal life goes on just as you would have it – and you’re working at improving it, virtually, at the same time.
Everyone may very well want a result as fast as possible, but all learning proceeds at its own pace and the internet doesn’t necessarily make earning your degree a lot faster. Though you will find accelerated and expedited online degree programs, there is still a natural course through which education in particular fields needs to proceed. Professional educators and peer groups decide on the absolute minimum standards in just about every field, and many of those fields end up being online study programs. Not every study program can be achieved purely through internet distance learning, but many new degree programs will be coming online in the years to come. And the interactivity in the courses that you see now will be an important part of all of them.
Written by James Tomon - Degree Jungle Staff Writer © Degree Jungle 2010
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