Online learning has been enjoying a considerable surge in popularity across all age groups and demographics, and this is considered to be the result of various factors. While we can all agree on the benefits of gaining an education, there remain numerous voices that still consider virtual learning to be inferior to traditional, seat-in-the-class learning models.
The reasons for the rise in popularity of e-learning are not difficult to arrive at. First, there is undeniable convenience that comes with being able to carry out your studies from the comfort of your own home or the environment you think suits you best. Second, it is incredibly cheap in comparison to booking a place in a learning institution. There are plenty of learning resources available online at the click of a button, which may not be made use of in a traditional learning setting. Finally, and perhaps not so obviously as the preceding reasons, is the fact that many education stakeholders find that e-learning is just as effective, if not more, as learning in traditional settings. Let’s take a look at the reasons many have come to think learning online may be just as good as the real world alternative.
Higher Retention Rates
Courses conducted in the real world have a long history of dropout troubles. We are all probably familiar with people who did not see their college careers through to the end for any number of reasons. The fact is, learning offline comes with many limiting factors and poses numerous challenges, commitments, and demands. Online learning does away with many of the encumbrances that make offline learning so hard to navigate at times. As reported by Allensbach-hochschule.de, online learning has reported higher rates of student retention, which it places at the doorstep of such factors as increased schedule flexibility, more engaging multimedia learning content, among other factors made possible through online learning structures.
Increased Levels of Knowledge Uptake
Traditional learning settings are constrained in numerous ways, not least with regard to the amount of learning that can actually be passed from tutor to pupil in a face-to-face situation, especially when we’re dealing with entire roomfuls of pupils. Online learning gets rid of this limitation, as individuals are able to learn at their own speed, which happily translates to a higher rate on average.
Few people will immediately associate online learning with reduced stress placed on the environment, but the fact is that learning online translates to solid gains in the environmental conservation arena. By making the choice to carry out their studies online, students will save an average of 80% when it comes to energy consumption and 85% with regard to the emission of carbon dioxide when considered relative to traditional learning settings.
Decreased Time Investment
Online learning has made the process of getting an education much less time-consuming. There are countless people out there who are disheartened at the prospect of offline learning due to the anticipated time outlay they expect to make in the course of getting to and from class, maneuvering through hectic days on campus, and all the attendant delays and hold-ups that come with them.
Online learning goes further to minimize time wastage, as learners are at liberty to structure their learning sessions in the manner they feel would make the most efficient use of their time. They are free to reduce the time spent in areas they are confident in while giving more time to problem areas they may have.
Increased Assessment Frequency Reduces Distraction Rates
It has been noted that an increase in the frequency of assessments and tests goes a long way in boosting student engagement and thus keeping the learning process on track for optimal results. As lecturers are able to keep a closer eye on the progress their students are making, it becomes a whole lot easier for them to spot a struggling student and make the necessary interventions before the situation deteriorates further.
Short but regular testing has been found to be superior to the massive anxiety that comes with do-or-die exams at the end of learning seasons. A Harvard study was able to demonstrate the fact that these regular testing practices had the effect of halving the levels of distraction the students faced, increased their levels of note-taking, and considerably boosted their knowledge retention.