Online learning is simple, self-paced, interactive, and convenient. It’s no wonder that students are increasingly opting for online learning over face-to-face classroom programs. This is especially true in the case of higher education courses. Many colleges and universities are now offering online programs for higher education learning, allowing ease of access and convenience.
This move also encourages students to take up higher studies at any university irrespective of their geographic location.
There are several ways in which online courses benefit higher education students. Over the years, it’s become evident that students are indeed finding online learning to be more helpful and effective.
The following are some of the benefits of online learning for higher education students:
Students get more flexibility to work out their schedules around coursework. They need not attend classes at specific times. Online classes can be taken asynchronously, and students still get to interact with their instructors and fellow students through social channels (such as discussion forums) at their own pace.
Not only the schedule, but the learning environment can be flexible as well. If a student is not comfortable coming to class, learning online lets him or her choose an environment that works for them. It can also help them cut down their traveling costs and commuting time as well.
The Research Institute of America has found that online courses have increased student retention rates from between 25% to 60%. This may be attributed to the use of multimedia-rich content in online learning, which arguably makes higher education learning more engaging and compelling.
The flexibility of course schedules and the convenience of taking courses from a location of students’ preference, also contribute to higher retention. In comparison, many offline courses struggle to retain students throughout their duration.
The flexibility of the schedule helps students get the maximum out of their time, be more productive, learn more, and advance in their careers faster.
A survey conducted among young college graduates found that two-thirds of the participants were satisfied with the learning outcomes of online education. Nearly 44 percent of them improved their employment standing, while 45 percent got salary hikes.
Students have certain preferences about where they want to study for their higher education. This sometimes limits the choice of subjects or courses available to them at a particular university.
With online learning, students need not worry about the study location and focus completely on what subjects they are interested in. It also provides them the opportunity to choose topics from a variety of e-learning programs.
With online learning, students have to pay for tuition fees, book supplies, application forms, and a few other items. But they can still save on housing and transportation costs, which translates to more savings and lower student debts.
Many students agree that the flexibility of taking online courses at their own pace helps them develop a sense of self-discipline and responsibility. Studying online requires more self-motivation and time-management skills, as there is no instructor physically present to keep them focused on deadlines. These traits help students build up leadership skills and stand out in their careers.
Bite-sized learning and frequent assessments, generally implemented in online learning programs, helps students to be focused and reduce distractions. Research published by Harvard demonstrated that the use of frequent, short exams halved student distraction, tripled notetaking, and improved the students’ overall retention of the content.
These are just a few of the many benefits of e-learning programs in higher education. Institutes are slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that online learning improves student outcomes if implemented in the right way.
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