A guest post by Mikkie Mills
Over time, a lot has changed in the education sector in the United States. Today, if you briskly walked into the classroom ready to remind yourself of the good old school days of your youth, you would be in for a rude shock. You would completely not relate to the current classroom environment. Books and pens have been replaced as note-taking tools by computers, tablets, and iPads. Even more shocking, the classroom might not even be a physical place where like minds converge for learning purposes. It is simply a virtual space where learners access learning materials, hold class discussions, and take their examinations after studies. The education revolution is real, and it is spearheaded by the introduction of online learning.
Even though change is as good as rest, embracing it comes with its fair share of fears, and it is not different from the new technology in the education sector. The move to incorporate online learning into our school curriculum has been welcomed with mixed reactions. However, the surge is still on, and it is not likely to stop until the revolution is a success. To actualise this dream, institutions of higher education, especially colleges, have contracted online education firms to offer experiences of online learning, which match-up or surpass those found in modern Universities.
Availability and Access to Online Classes
Is online learning only in institutions of higher learning? Well, that is the belief of many, but with this revolution, it all starts from the basic levels. Over a million children in the United States participate in various forms of online learning. Today, over 27 states have fully enrolled in virtual schooling, giving students access to online classes. As a result, enrolment in these institutions is expected to grow tremendously over the next 10 years, with over half of high school classes being held on online platforms.
Online learning has diversified access to education opportunities. Under traditional schooling, hardly would you come across mature adults in a learning facility for students. Today, however, the converse is being witnessed. The flexibility and convenience presented by online learning have improved access to learning opportunities for anyone interested. A survey conducted in 2012 by Learning House indicated that an average online learner is about 33 years old and employed on a full-time basis. Moreover, the number of individuals undertaking innovative online programs has soared up to over 10 million people. You can learn anything from software development in a QA Bootcamp or getting certification as a project manager. Owing to technology, online learning has now become a global endeavour that is conveniently available and affordable.
Online schooling is highly effective compared to the traditional method of learning. Students already enrolled in these programs are reaping immense educational benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who have undertaken online classes have, on average, performed better than those who take similar subjects only on a traditional schooling forum. Moreover, online learning has proven to have the capability to improve education productivity and significantly lower the cost of education.
The Impact of Improved Connection and Communication
Despite being a new leaf for many, online learning has been in force for some years now. However, its predominance is only being evidenced presently due to the communication technologies present in this new age. In the past, attending an online course class meant relocating to a room where you would click and browse through static web pages. However, things have taken a new turn and learning now takes place across the internet, including social media platforms. The survey conducted in 2012 indicates that 67% of online students use online videos as necessary course materials. This sharing of educational resources and communication ability has significantly contributed to the revolutionising of the education sector.
The successful incorporation of online learning in schools has seen the level of education improve in the country over time. The progress of online education and massive adoption on large scale only communicate how essential technology is in the current society. Besides, it is evident that online schooling is the most innovative way to expand the learning options for students in the modern world.