The College Board estimates that in 2013 over 6 million higher education students were taking at least one online course—a number expected to grow as the ecosystem of institutions offering online education grows and diversifies. Fortunately, college students aren’t the only ones who have welcomed the option to exchange their brick and mortar schools with online learning portals as there are many online high schools as well. For students dealing with health problems, bullying or other constantly moving around, online schools could be a welcome option. Although it takes a certain amount of organization and motivation to succeed in the virtual classroom, there are many benefits to online classes.
Learning Styles & Communication
California Polytechnic University estimates that online classes can increase the amount of communication between classmates and the instructor by opening up a world of online chatting, emails and discussion boards. In a regular classroom, if you don’t make it a point to talk to your instructor, the chance is lost once class is over; this doesn’t happen in the online classroom. Online classes can also accommodate a wider range of learning styles, as instructors often make use of videos, slides, lecture notes and visuals to engage students.
Online classes offer a flexibility not found in typical schools—classes are often set up in a way that allows students to log in, complete coursework, and communicate with classmates or the professor at any time of day. This lends itself to a healthier work-school-life balance and is advantageous for those students who have families, jobs or other responsibilities. Additionally, classes at many virtual schools can be started at any time of year, so there is no need to wait until the next semester to begin.
Access & Interaction
The nature of online education promotes a higher internet fluency and as a result, online pupils often have an easier time accessing course materials, the library and the school in general. Because courses are conducted online, materials are available around the clock. Online schools often have extensive virtual libraries where academic articles and books are always available, so students do not have to wait to go to campus to conduct research, check in with instructors or seek help. Additionally, many virtual colleges have readily available online writing centers and math help desks. Online education also allows an anonymity that can promote learning. According to NBC News, younger students had an easier time discussing topics revolving around health, for example, in a virtual classroom.
The internet has revolutionized the world—changing the way we eat, meet, and otherwise interact with the world around us. Regardless of your situation, or goals—online education is certainly an option worth considering. For more information on online education, visit San Diego Virtual School.
College Board/Babson Study:
Cal Polytechnic Study: