Could online learning soon replace the traditional face-to-face method?

Distance learning is not a new concept, with the first course being sent by mail in Boston, USA in 1728. Online learning however, is a relatively new concept with the first full online curriculum introduced by CalCampus in 1994.

In 2014, 98 per cent of all public colleges were offering online courses. Today, 90 per cent of academic leaders believe that in 5 years time the majority of college students will be taking at least one course online.

Does this mean that traditional face-to-face education could slowly be replaced by online learning? Maybe not. However, it is becoming increasingly common for university students to juggle their work and social life, especially if they need to support themselves financially. This leaves them with less time to attend classes. For those wanting to live abroad, traditional methods would force people to make a decision between following their dream to live overseas or remaining in their home country to receive face-to-face education.

Online education is the answer for students who wish to continue learning without taking time out of their day to physically be in college. Similarly for expats who want to receive an education from their home country without scuppering their opportunities to live abroad.

The benefits of online learning

Most online courses are accessible at anytime the students schedule allows – even if it’s in the middle of the night. But that’s not the only benefit of online learning.

  • Variety in courses: there are thousands of different courses offered online, from full degrees to short intensive courses.
  • Superiority: In a report on online education in the States conducted in 2013 it found that 77 per cent of academic leaders rated the success of learning outcomes of online education as the same or superior to those achieved through face-to-face methods.
  • Acceptance: 69.1 per cent of academic leaders believe that online education is critical to their long-term strategy, meaning the widespread acceptance of online courses is on the rise.
  • Saving money: while not all online courses are necessarily cheaper when it comes to tuition, you can save money from not commuting, buying course material (most of it will be shared online), and other costs that face-to-face education may require.
  • Connecting with people all over the world: class discussions and chats are a great way for people to interact with one another, even if they live on opposite ends of the world.

If you live abroad, would you consider enrolling yourself online? Perhaps you already have – let us know in the comments below!

[Image: LeanForward lf]