Dispelling Myths about Online Education
Despite the breakneck growth of technology-enhanced online education options and a sharp uprise in the amount of learners, both children and adults, who choose to get educated online, this form of learning is still viewed by many as a convenient additional tool rather than a full-fledged alternative to the traditional classroom instruction. The stigma attached undeservedly to many online university programs gave birth to a number of myths and misconceptions that reign supreme in the minds of many worthy and talented policy-makers, education experts and analysts and academic community.
The opponents of online education argue that it lacks some very important properties specific to regular learning. It cannot boast the same level of personal connection and collaborative experience that students can get in the traditional classroom. The curriculum of online classes is usually considered to be much less rigorous and challenging.
However, online learning advocates who think that traditional face-to-face instruction is just as impersonal contradict them vigorously. With overcrowded lecture halls and bored and tired professors, one could hardly expect to get much individualized attention or focused help.
It remains to be seen whether online learning enhanced by technology will ever replace face-to-face instruction.
Today we will discuss and partly dispel the strangest and most commonly heard myths about online education.
• “The quality of online education is not as good as of traditional face-to-face instruction.”
It has been proven over years that online learners tend to perform as well as classroom students. The academic outcomes do not differ very much. Moreover, the fact that online classes are much more interactive and flexible makes such form of learning even more effective. Students appear to be much more involved and interested in learning new things and concepts with the help of their ‘smart’ gadgets.
• “Degrees earned online are good-for-nothing and employers do not take them seriously.”
Employers differ. However, many nationwide surveys show that over 60% of those familiar with the online education format believe that online degrees are just as good and trustworthy as those earned through traditional degree programs. When it comes to hiring an online degree holder, the majority of employers are primarily concerned about whether or not the degree has been issued by an accredited institution. In fact, more and more employers try to encourage their workers and job seekers to give a closer look to online programs since it allows them to combine work and studies, meaning they can get theoretical knowledge and reinforce it with strong hands-on working experience.
• “It is easy to get into online university and you do not really have to work hard towards your degree, you’ll get it anyway.”
This misconception is a totally mistaken one. While some colleges do provide open enrollment, it does not mean learning will be of no challenge. In fact, online learning requires students to possess a number of unique skills and abilities such as time-management, self-discipline etc. In order to succeed in online classes a student has to be self-motivated and committed to his long-standing goals.
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