Internet-based learning is extremely popular, and there are many indicators that it’ll continue to be meaningful for the future. Keep reading to learn about why it’s likely online education will keep shaping the educational landscape of the future.
Class Sizes Are Virtually Limitless
Whereas in-person courses may be limited to a few dozen participants depending on the subject, online class sizes are basically unlimited because they are not hindered by physical space. You may have heard of MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. Research has found they’re not superior to smaller courses in every case, but they certainly have merit.
For example, Harvard’s “Introduction to Computer Science” MOOC is one of its most popular and has over 350,000 students from around the world representing pre-teens to elderly people. On campus, this Harvard course has about 800 students, which is still a hefty number. You can see by the size of the MOOC that there are no boundaries for online course sizes.
This reality could encourage a person to learn if they were previously discouraged by the perception there were no online courses for certain subjects offered near them. It also eliminates the stress associated with trying to enroll in courses before they fill up.
Some Courses Have More Video-Based Components
Once 800,000 people went on BuzzFeed and watched people explore a watermelon with rubber bands, it became clear live streaming, including Facebook Live, was a huge hit. People record videos of getting tattoos, trying out new hairstyles and showing their friends the things they do and see.
Some teachers of online courses are taking note and making their material more video-based. That’s especially true in terms of discussions. Discussions and forums are part of most online classes, and they give participants perspectives of what their peers think.
Supporters of the video-based discussions say the format comes more naturally to today’s learners and helps them feel closer to the other people who are taking the course. This is just one example of why it’s necessary for online courses to continue to mirror societal trends and present content in ways that are maximally engaging.
Internet Courses Could Benefit Older People
Doctors already give elderly people advice about things they can do to keep their brains sharp and avoid issues like Alzheimer’s. Some researchers are also advocating that online courses could help older people feel less lonely.
SeniorNet and ThirdAGE are two websites that cater to seniors who want to learn online, but scientists admit that online learning is still a new concept among the elderly population and has significant room for growth.
They assert Internet-based courses could be especially advantageous for senior citizens who have mobility issues, are homebound because of illnesses or live in geographically isolated areas.
Virtual High School May Soon Become a Reality
Many home-schooled students are accustomed to getting their high school curriculums through the Internet and eventually earning their diplomas. This approach works well if their parents do not have adequate expertise in certain subject areas and there are no local classes nearby they can attend.
A school in Minnesota hopes to offer a virtual high school option to some of its students as early as this fall by partnering with another school in its district. Interestingly, the school, which offers Catholic lesson plans, stopped teaching high school students in 1969. If the plans go forward, it could be another choice for students and parents who want a specific kind of education.
In broader terms, it could offer more educational opportunities for people who are unable to attend high school in person for various reasons. For example, they may have chronic physical or mental health problems that make in-person classes impractical.
Online Education Prepares People for College
Many high school students are given opportunities to enroll in college courses to start earning credits early. That education sometimes occurs online. However, online courses help students get ready for higher learning in another way by helping them ace the test that’s often a big aspect of getting admitted — the SAT.
Someone who achieved a perfect score on the SAT developed one possibility, offered through Kranse Institute. It offers 10-minute chunks of content people can follow at their own pace. The content could be an excellent solution for people who want to excel on the SAT but lack the transportation or other necessary resources for getting to courses taught in person.
Learners Can Develop In-Demand Skills More Affordably
People often gravitate towards online courses because they’re frequently more affordable than traditionally taught classes, especially when factoring in things like gas money and potentially having to pay for a babysitter or deal with lost income from taking time off work.
There are also numerous online courses that teach skills that are in high demand, such as coding. Even better, some classes are free. Although some people may wish to receive educations that are more in-depth than what those courses offer, the free material serves as a gateway to get more people interested in subjects such as coding.
These kinds of courses may prove so fascinating that students end up using coding skills to increase ways to learn online. After acquiring such knowledge, people find they’re more equipped for better-paying jobs and have a higher level of competitiveness in the job market.
Most people either have access to the internet at home already or can enroll in technology assistance programs for underprivileged people if they qualify. Internet access is offered at most public libraries, too. Thanks to these realities, people can excel in their educations even if various barriers exist.
Online education is already helping people make massive strides in self-improvement, and it’ll play a defining role in shaping our society for the future. Online education makes learning more accessible, and people from all ages and backgrounds benefit.