Pros and Cons of Online Education
With the increase in the prevalence and popularity of online learning, it is likely a trend that we will continue to see even after the pandemic. The increasing availability of online education programmes will eventually drive prices down in an oversaturated market and ultimately leave the traditional model of face-to-face education as an elite product. Most students have had some experience with online learning in the past year as the pandemic has tested educational infrastructure around the globe, finding it lacking in some places, while in others, there has been a smooth and seamless transition from the physical classroom to the virtual. Although online education has undeniable advantages in terms of accessibility and normally erodes restrictive barriers such as distance and time differences, especially for international students, it also carries certain inherent disadvantages and deficiencies.
Pros Of Online Education:
The advance of online education heralds the beginning of the 4th educational revolution and is a great equalizer for access and opportunities. The increase in accessibility and convenience brought by online education means that time and distance no longer play a crucial factor in determining who receives an education as both are negated by the inherent nature of learning through online platforms. Furthermore, the affordability of online education increases its appeal and obtainability, levelling the playing field for those who before could neither access nor afford a quality education. Moreover, a greater choice of courses not constrained by location and often on a flexible schedule and in an environment of your choice leads to greater exploration of career options and hobbies. Online education also necessitates developing certain soft skills such as self-motivation, refined critical-thinking skills, and a better organization and time management level. However, it is important to note that advantages such as a flexible timetable and an opportunity to develop personally are a double-edged sword as without the aforementioned skills and a certain level of individual drive and commitment in attending courses and doing due diligence, online education cannot succeed.
Cons of Online Education:
Despite the myriad advantages of online learning, there are intrinsic disadvantages, mainly characterized by the lack of communication with classmates and, most importantly, an absence of contact hours with teachers, which can resolve commonplace issues such as academic underperformance and simple misunderstandings. Similarly, online student feedback is generally limited to class hours. It can lead a student to become confused as to the direction in which his studies should progress and deprive him of the chance to gain a deeper understanding of his subject through extracurricular engagement. Likewise, the material tends to be covered more slowly and not necessarily more thoroughly, leading to increased individual work. A student cannot always access help again, leading to a lack of understanding and sometimes leaving questions unanswered. Equally, the level of social interaction between classmates and collaborative, practical work, a hallmark of face-to-face education, is subpar, frequently resulting in a feeling of social isolation. Furthermore, despite the marketing of online learning as a panacea for all current problems created by the pandemic across all levels of education, it is crucial to understand that the younger the student, the less effective online learning is. Younger classes require a more interactive teaching method to maintain focus and cohesion, which is exceptionally difficult to impart through a screen.
The advance of online education is inevitable, and it is integrating into teaching methods across all levels of education if not as a primary method, then as a supplementary tool should be expected by all. However, although it carries incredible benefits which promote the accessibility of education, this type of learning, ultimately, requires an altogether more motivated, organized, and proactive student who may not apply to everyone requiring careful review and appraisal to decide if online learning is an appropriate method for you individually.
Blog post by Mikhail Khan
Follow Imin Consulting on Social Media: