Benefits of online learning


Clearly traditional brick and mortar learning institutions are not going away anytime soon; as technology progresses and the world becomes more reliant upon the Internet, the benefits of online learning are becoming more compelling. Taking an online college course has become a legitimate and flexible option for those who have busy lives.

“The web is revolutionizing some areas of study through increased opportunities for learning and alternative formats for information.” (Cornell university Dwyer, Barbieri, and Doerr, 1995).

The pro's and con's of e-learning vary depending on program goals, target audience and organizational infrastructure and culture.

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Benefits of online learning include:

Like no other training form, online learning promises to deliver learning outcomes to a maximum number of participants with a maximum range of learning styles, preferences, and needs. Flexibility is one the benefits of online learning.

Most courses are specifically created in a manner that allows trainees to complete work at their own pace and convenience, whenever they have enough time to spare.

Online learning allows more efficient training of a globally dispersed audience; and reduced publishing and distribution costs as Web-based training becomes a standard.

Benefits Of Online Learning

E-learning also offers individualized instruction, which print media cannot provide, and traditional instructor-led courses provide at great cost.

In conjunction with assessing needs, e-learning can target specific needs. And by using learning style tests, e-learning can locate and target individual learning preferences.

Additionally benefits of online learning include that it is self-paced. Advanced learners are allowed to speed through or bypass instruction that they don’t need while novices slow their own progress through content, eliminating frustration with themselves, their fellow learners, and the course.

Overcoming language barriers and accessing learning translation services is now also possible thanks to the internet and there are many places where you can go about finding teaching services specifically for your precise needs.

In addition to everyday obstacles, benefits of online learning are that it provides a solution for individuals who may be facing political or financial obstacles that might otherwise make education impossible. That the web is in fact world-wide means that a key benefit of online learning is that it is international and a truly egalitarian means of acquiring knowledge




Summarised benefits of online learning,

Convenience and accessibility

  • You're unbound by place - study at home, work, or on the road
  • Learning is self-paced (not too slow, not too fast)
  • You're unbound by time - courses are available 24/7
  • Read materials online or download them for reading later
  • Have direct access to specific help by e-mail

Lower Cost and wider selection

  • Choose from a wide range of courses to meet your needs
  • Degree, Vocational, and Certificate programs, continuing Education
  • From art to zoology you can do it all online in a price range to fit your budget.
  • Go back to school to get a degree, learn a new skill, learn a new craft, or just have fun!

Flexibility

  • An online learning benefit is it accommodates your preferences and needs - it's student-centred
  • Choose instructor-led or self-study courses
  • Skip over material you already know and focus on topics you'd like to learn
  • Use the tools best suited to your learning styles
  • Find it easier to contribute without being dominated by louder and more assertive trainees

Higher Retention

  • Online learning will draw you to topics you like and enjoy. Studies show that because of this and the variety of delivery methods used to reach different types of learners, learning retention is frequently better than in a traditional classroom.

Greater Collaboration

  • Technology tools make collaboration among students much easier. This a great benefit of online learning. Since many projects involve collaborative learning, the online environment is far easier (and often more comfortable) to work in since learners don't have to be face-to-face. Web-based education tools provide many ways to increase communication between class members and faculty, including discussion boards, chats, and e-mails. Real time collaboration can help create breadth of thinking and generate more insights

Global Opportunities

  • The global learning community is at your fingertips with online learning. The technologies used give online instructional designers the ability to build in tools that take you to resources you may never see in a traditional training room.
  • Benefits of online learning to the Trainer or Organization

    Some of the most outstanding advantages to the trainer or organization are:

    • Learning times reduced, an average of 40 to 60 percent, as found by Brandon Hall (Web-based Training Cookbook, 1997, p. 108).
    • Consistent delivery of content is possible with asynchronous, self-paced e-learning.
    • Providing 24/7 accessibility to course materials. Some students work best in the morning, some in the evening.
    • Knowledge is communicated, but more importantly captured, with good e-learning and knowledge management systems.
    • Accommodate different learning styles An instructor can also present these materials in many formats to accommodate different types of learning styles. For example, if an instructor puts both lecture notes and slides online, both visual and auditory learners benefit. Students can help their learning by finding teaching services specifically for their precise needs. Students who prefer to focus on "listening" and "watching" during lecture do not have to worry that they are missing important concepts while scrambling to take copious notes. They can focus on understanding the material and concepts as they are presented
    • Reduced overall cost is the single most influential benefits of online learning. The elimination of costs associated with instructor's salaries, meeting room rentals, and student travel, lodging, and meals are directly quantifiable. The reduction of time spent away from the job by employees may be the most positive offshoot.
    • Increased retention and application to the job averages an increase of 25 percent over traditional methods, according to an independent study by J.D. Fletcher (Multimedia Review, Spring 1991, pp.33-42).
    • Proof of completion and certification, essential elements of training initiatives, can be


    Disadvantages to the Trainer or Organization

    The benefits of online learning are not limitless. It does have limitations, among them:

    • Up-front investment required of an e-learning solution is larger due to development costs. Budgets and cash flows will need to be negotiated.
    • Technology issues that play a factor include whether the existing technology infrastructure can accomplish the training goals, whether additional tech expenditures can be justified, and whether compatibility of all software and hardware can be achieved.
    • Limited formatting of content in current browsers - The WBT you create will not resemble the CBT you might be familiar with because of Net bandwidth constraints. So if your content relies on a lot of media "bells and whistles," or particular formatting, the Net might not be the best delivery medium.
    • Cannot design and develop robust multimedia courses . Limited bandwidth means slower performance for sound, video, and large graphics
    • Many, if not most, of today's web-based training programs are too static, with little if any interactivity
    •  Inappropriate content for online learning may exist according to some experts, though are limited in number. Even the acquisition of skills that involve complex physical/motor or emotional components (for example, juggling or mediation) can be augmented with e-learning.
    • Cultural acceptance is an issue where trainees backgrounds and values may mean they are not comfortable with computers at all

    Disadvantages to the Learner

    The ways in which e-learning may not excel over other training include:

    • Technology issues of the learners are most commonly technophobia and unavailability of required technologies.
    • Portability of training has become one of the benefits of onlne learning with the proliferation of network linking points, notebook computers, PDAs, and mobile phones, but still does not rival that of printed workbooks or reference material.
    • Reduced social and cultural interaction can be a drawback. The impersonality, suppression of communication mechanisms such as body language, and elimination of peer-to-peer learning that are part of this potential disadvantage are lessening with advances in communications technologies
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