Fifteen years ago, the perception of online education was largely negative. However, something interesting has happened over the last decade and a half. No longer is online education viewed with skepticism. It’s actually seen as an excellent alternative to traditional campus-based learning.
The Growth of Online Education
According to the 2015 Survey of Online Learning, online education is continuing its healthy climb into mainstream education. According to Elaine Allen, co-author of the study, “The study’s findings highlight a thirteenth consecutive year of growth in the number of students taking courses at a distance.”
This is fantastic news, not only for the schools and teachers, but also for students who hold online degrees or are hoping to enroll in distance programs in the future.
Reasons for the Growth
What exactly is fueling the growth of online education? This is what everyone wants to know. And while there are a number of reasons for the growth, let’s briefly highlight the most important and tangible ones as they relate to 2016 and beyond.
Employers See Wider Skillset
The interesting thing about online education is that it automatically says positive things about the student. Take a medical assistant for example. “Earning a medical assistant degree online will make allied health professionals comfortable with all things computer-related, only adding to their resume once the medical assisting degree has been earned,” explains Orion College, an online college that understands exactly what employers are looking for.
But it’s much more than technical skills that employers are seeking. For online students, there’s usually a greater sense of motivation and independence. These are traits that employers actively search for in job candidates.
Move at Your Own Pace
One of the greatest things about an online degree program is that the student is allowed to move at his own pace. Many courses can be completed in as little as 12 months or drawn out for a couple of years. This allows students with families and existing jobs to fit online education into their current schedules.
Costs Less Than Traditional Degree
With an online degree, students aren’t paying for unnecessary expenses like room and board, meal plans, classroom fees, and all of the other charges campus-based degree programs typically tack on. This makes online education significantly more cost-effective. You’re paying for the education you’re receiving, not a bunch of superfluous expenses that deliver minimal long-term value.
Better Information Absorption and Retention
The truth is that online teaching has far surpassed classroom teaching in the number of different mediums they use to present the curriculum. From video and images to audio lectures and interactive tools, online education introduces entirely new learning techniques.
“Multimedia tools have been scientifically proven to improve memory in our brains by providing strong sensory cues that help us remember what we learn,” says Lila Romero of US News. “I know from experience that a highlighted section in a textbook is not as memorable as a large, colorful infographic packed with animated images and compelling facts.”
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Online Learning
In the past, online learning and distance based education has been viewed under a very critical microscope. Employers and companies in a variety of industries were unsure of how to view an online degree when compared against a traditional campus-based degree. Well, these times seem to be in the rearview mirror. The value of online learning is increasing and there is less hesitancy when it comes to this powerful and convenient form of education.