6 Benefits of Online Education: And How to Use Them
Online learning has become an increasingly popular alternative to in-class learning. The convenience, flexibility and affordability of online education make it a logical choice for many students and institutions. Use of online education can also have many benefits for both the student and the institution offering courses. The benefits of online education can be used by any institution that wants to expand to offer their students more convenient access to their educational programs or who simply want to increase enrollment numbers. However, not all institutions are the same and your own personal conditions may play a role in your decision on whether or not to adopt these programs. Read on for more details on why you should consider expanding your programs with online learning (and why it might not be right for you).
Convenience and Flexibility
One of the biggest reasons to consider online education is that it allows students to access their programs at times that work best for them. For example, you can offer certain courses on weekends or during evenings to accommodate students who are working or going to school full-time. You might also want to include some online courses to offer reduced costs or allow you to expand your reach to students who cannot attend classes during certain times or remote locations. Online courses also provide flexibility in terms of what resources students need to access. Although student progress and assessments are usually taken online and provided online, most universities allow some type of face-to-face interaction between the professor and student.
Increased Enrollment and Retention
Another benefit of online education is that it is likely to increase both overall enrollment and retention. In the U.S., more than half of all college students will likely not return for their second year. Online programs can help to increase overall enrollment numbers simply by bringing in additional, accessible students. The increased retention of online students is likely due to the convenience of completing studies online. Students who have the ability to complete their coursework online will likely feel even more engaged and motivated when they can easily incorporate these studies into their daily lives. Online programs can also be an excellent option for students who are overwhelmed by the idea of going to school full-time. Some students may feel pressured to attend a full-time program to get the degree they want, but simply don’t have the schedule or energy to work full-time. Online programs can offer a great option for these students.
Improved Teaching and Learning Environment
Another benefit of online education is the ability to create a more conducive environment for learning. Many universities now offer online programs that include ways for students to communicate face-to-face with instructors. This may include daily office hours or occasional remote activities. You may also want to offer online programs that provide students with access to resources, such as libraries or labs, that would otherwise be inaccessible. The ability to provide a more conducive learning environment can be especially important for programs that involve a heavy amount of reading. The ability to read in a quiet room and have some face-to-face communication can make all the difference for students who experience issues with auditory attention.
Another benefit of online education is that it can provide significant cost savings compared to on-campus programs. Costs will vary from one institution to the next, but you may be able to reduce costs by offering online programs only during evenings or weekends. Alternatively, you could offer online courses as an additional option for some of your on-campus courses to reduce costs for all students. This approach can help you to expand your program offerings while helping to reduce the costs of some existing programs. Expanding your online programs with online courses can also help you to reduce costs by avoiding expensive facilities or building maintenance. For example this may be true for programs that do not require a traditional campus facility.
Enhanced Student Experience
Perhaps the greatest benefit of online education is that it provides an opportunity for students to experience college in a way that fits their schedules and lifestyle. Online programs can offer flexible scheduling, allow students to work or attend school at their own pace, or allow them to go on breaks or take vacations while continuing their studies. Online learning can also allow students to experience college in a way that better fits their interests. A student who loves to write but has difficulty writing essays because they are not fluent in English may want to try an online writing program that allows students to work at their own pace and provides a variety of writing prompts. Online programs can also allow students to experience college in a way that better fits their current interests and career goals. Many online programs now offer simulated job assignments that can help students to develop real-world skills.
The benefits of online education are many, and can help in expanding your programs to more people, offering more convenient times and flexible ways to access your programs, reduced costs, and the ability to have a more conducive learning environment, and enhanced student experience. Now that you know the benefits, it is up to you to decide if offering online courses is right for your institution.