Learning during this pandemic is a challenging task. Hence, online learning has taken over the field of education. It has a very high success rate as most students are successfully getting adapted to this new system. People can learn about anything at any time through online learning. It helps anyone learn anything amidst their tight schedules and busy days. However, just as any education system, online education also has its benefits and drawbacks.
Advantages of Online Classes for Higher Education
Online learning provides a lot of unprecedented opportunities for students seeking knowledge. This being a new phase of the modern education system offers the following advantages to online learners.
1. Online courses are convenient
The convenience for learning is the main advantage of online classes. Traveling for long hours to attend a class is very exhausting. Therefore, for anyone who doesn’t need to travel to and from an education provider, the method of online learning is the best way. You can attend any session in the comfort of your own home and even make the best out of the time of your day. All you need is a smartphone or computer with a proper internet connection. There is no limit to the number of courses you can take or the number of different fields you can learn. You can even enroll in a course on the other end of the world easily with just a few clicks.
2. Online classes are flexible
Online education offers more flexibility in picking courses and tutors. There is a wide range of courses available for anyone to pick from. You can determine the time you need to study and even pick the sessions that suit your plans. Although you may not be able to find a tutor to teach you something in-person in the middle of the night, you can definitely find one through online learning. You can even have unlimited access to online learning resources unlike in traditional learning methods.
3. Online courses are more affordable
This is one of the main advantages that anyone can get from online learning. These are way cheaper than the courses that offer traditional teaching since they require less physical resources such as infrastructure. The students can also save the cost of travel, clothing, food, and related expenses when taking online classes. You can even spend less on books and supplies as you can refer to online learning resources and save them on your devices.
4. Offer more individual attention
Online education allows you to interact more with the tutors through various electronic media. Meeting the lecturers after class is quite challenging in physical classes. But this is not so in online classrooms. You can simply send e-mails, video calls, and have special Zoom meetings with the lecturer depending on your requirement. The tutors may even use innovative teaching methods to draw the attention of the students. They can focus on individual students and meet their requirements. It will facilitate the active collaboration between students and teachers with this new paradigm of teaching.
5. Promote life-long learning
This is another important aspect of online learning. Lessons taught in physical classes are limited to books and notes. If you need to find something you would always need to refer to the books and search. However, when learning things online, you can always look them up easily online. The notes can even be saved as soft copies which are way easier to find. Another important thing you get from online learning is self-discipline. You will have good control over your work and motivate yourself on focusing on academics.
Disadvantages of Online Classes for Higher Education
While having significant strengths, online courses also have weaknesses that cannot be disregarded easily. Here are some of the main disadvantages of online education that you may need to be aware of.
1. Online courses require self-discipline
Just as much as it saves time, online courses may take more time for completion depending on your ability to work. This is mostly because people love to procrastinate. Since it is difficult to skip classes and get away from assignments in in-person classes, you will do things on time anyway. But the online courses give the students more freedom, sometimes way too much than they can handle. Students require good time management skills to engage in their studies and complete them at the proper time.
2. Online courses may make students feel isolated
Students may often find themselves alone in a room doing their own work at home. Although this may seem peaceful and independent, it may not always be so. Since we have been interacting with peers throughout all these years, having to stay inside and study would be frustrating after some time. Students may feel less valued and ignored as the tutors cannot always see them. Therefore, it is necessary to encourage student participation in these online classes.
3. You need to be an active learner
Unlike in physical sessions where the lecturer gives you all the information about the subject matter, online courses require learners to be active. You need to guide yourself to take the courses, participate in the sessions, find online learning resources, complete tasks, and participate in group activities. There will be no instructors hounding you to stay on a task and complete it. Students who are mostly used to the passive learning of traditional methods may find this more challenging. Hence, online education requires more self-awareness and good control over oneself. But if you are self-motivated and interested in pursuing knowledge, this is the way to go.
4. Online Classes may get affected by technical issues
Technical issues may range from simple brownouts to major failures in electronic devices. Despite the wide development of technology and internet connectivity around the world, there are still some regions that face occasional breakdowns. There would be difficulties for the lecturers to connect with the students to deliver lessons at the relevant sessions. On the other hand, students facing these difficulties may miss the lessons and even have to attend make-up sessions to cover the lessons.
5. Need to spend more screen-time
Since the early half of the year 2020, people have spent most of their time in front of screens for either working or learning requirements (stats: statista.com). This is quite different from spending time on social media where you don’t feel any physical discomfort. Online courses also require spending more time on your electronic devices for learning. This may cause negative impacts on health. Bad postures may lead to physical ailments while spending too much time looking at the screen may cause strain in the eyes.