Pros and Cons of Online Education

There are many advantages and disadvantages to e-learning. Consider your reaction to the pros and cons listed below to determine if this new and progressively growing type of learning is one you want to explore further.

Some of the advantages of e-learning include:

  • Education is portable as long as you have access to the Internet and a computer. Just log on and you can be a student.

  • You can work from virtually anywhere in the world, from a remote village to a rural farm region, as long as you can obtain Internet access.

  • If you have a busy work or family life, you can do your class work at whatever time is convenient for you—morning, evening, or in the middle of the night (as long as you are not participating in an online chat discussion designated for a specific time!).

  • If you move from one state to another or you or a spouse gets transferred for a job, you can’t take your local state university with you, but your virtual university moves with you wherever you live.

  • If you need to complete a few courses to graduate from college or want to take courses to supplement an internship or job experience you are having, e-learning is a more flexible and convenient alternative to attending a weekly, evening, weekend, or community-college class at a university near you.

  • Online learning provides an alternate education opportunity for military families who are deployed and need to finish coursework or continue with classes while away from home. Military families who have to relocate can also benefit from this type of learning.

  • In our uncertain economy, e-learning is a more affordable alternative, since the university doesn’t have to host a class on campus with heating, lighting, a live professor, etc.

  • Working moms, stay-at-home moms, or full-time working people can finish college or obtain advanced degrees, since online learning meets most needs of people living in our busy working world and varied society today.

  • Students have the flexibility to take just a few e-courses to augment a college program, obtain a certificate in a field to advance a career, or earn an actual undergraduate, or graduate degree.

  • Surprisingly, e-learning can actually be more personalized than sitting in a large college lecture hall. Most e-classes contain twenty-five to thirty students per course, and everyone gets a chance to think critically, give responses to the teacher, and obtain feedback from peers and professor. Course dialogue is created and you learn through it.

Here are some drawbacks to online education:

  • E-learning does not provide many high school approved classes, and it’s not currently designed to serve high school learners. Sometimes a few classes are offered online to serve as makeups for classes that students could not schedule into their class calendar or failed.

  • Not all courses that may interest you are available through e-learning, although course catalogs at e-learning programs are growing daily.

  • E-learning can’t offer face-to-face learning, although Skype, iChat, social networking, and podcasts are being used more and more in this virtual world.

  • E-learning cannot replicate a “real” on-campus college experience, including living and learning in a residential education system. It is limited to your computer connection.

  • Internet access, if slow or unreliable, can prevent you from having a seamless e-learning experience. Be sure you feel confident with your computer skills and the reliability of your personal computer access or system.

  • Computers crash, power goes out, batteries lose charge. Be sure your system is up and running and reliable.

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