To say that 2020 has been a life-altering year would be an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down in many ways.
From its detrimental impacts on global economies and international travel, to the immense pressure it put on national health systems, the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 have been profound. As far as education is concerned, it has been a catalyst for the movement towards online learning that was already gaining momentum in recent years.
Government-imposed lockdown measures have forced people to retreat into their homes and away from places of work and education. This also made it apparent that much of the work and learning we do can actually be done remotely. While some may argue that not physically attending a place of higher education takes away from the overall university experience, it is evident that things are changing fast and online learning really is the future. Here are five reasons why:
It Offers Greater Flexibility
One of the major advantages that online learning has over traditional learning environments is that it offers greater flexibility for students. They no longer need to spend hours commuting or have to follow a restrictive schedule. As long as they have a laptop and access to a good internet connection they can learn wherever and whenever they want.
Self-Paced Schedules Encourages Self-Discipline
While this type of flexibility is great in theory, it also requires students to be highly motivated, especially if they are balancing work and their studies. Without the formal structure of a traditional learning environment, students need to develop their self-discipline to stay on track. This is a highly desirable skill that can certainly help boost a person’s employment prospects.
Access to a Wider Range of Courses
In the past, those that wanted to study a specialized subject may have been restricted to a handful of niche institutions. Students may have been forced to relocate and pay expensive international student rates. Thanks to the advent of online learning portals however more people can have access to learning resources through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). People who would have previously had to forgo learning opportunities due to geographic barriers have now had a wealth of opportunities made available to them.
It’s Budget Friendly
Just like we’ve seen with remote workforces, taking education online is also more cost-effective. It reduces the need to maintain buildings and lecture halls. Lecturers simply need to record their teachings and upload them online. These savings can be passed onto students making education more accessible by comparison.
A Better Overall Learning Experience
Although some will advocate for traditional learning, times are changing and it is believed that online learning offers students a better overall learning experience. As technology develops, we are likely to see higher quality online education infrastructure put in place, with more universities and colleges establishing their online presence and integrating it with their pre-existing learning environments.
Even though the world might not be ready for it, online learning is here to stay and it clearly has its benefits. It’s opening up opportunities for people with an appetite for learning and making higher education more accessible, so surely it can’t be a bad thing.