Online learning can be advantageous in many ways. However, it also has its disadvantages which need to be addressed. For example, students who take online courses may have less motivation than those who go to a traditional school setting.
The lack of human interaction with teachers and classmates may discourage them from participating as often or completing assignments as they would otherwise.
Online learning has never been so widespread, accepted or simple as it is today. The main cause of this lies in the technology and the force majeure the world has faced in 2020.
Schools, universities, institutions, businesses all went online once it was no longer an option, but an obligation. The transition had its ups and downs.
Humans are an adaptable species.
However, advantages and disadvantages of this new form of education exist as in anything else worth considering. Whether preparing to sign up for a course or start teaching, understanding them can help students decide to join.
That’s what this article is about – revealing the pros and cons of online education.
- Budget friendly
- No limits in number of students & choice of teachers
- Green and eco-friendly
- Career growth
- Short list of other benefits
- Lack of social contact
- Technology dependance
- Strong self-motivation required
- Not suited for all professions equally
Advantages of Online Learning
The obvious convenient factor reflects the fact that students don’t have to travel to attend a lecture. This saves a lot of time they can allocate differently, instead of getting ready, driving, and searching for parking.
Online learning also enables participants to enjoy the course from the comfort of home. All that is needed is a laptop and decent internet connection.
There is no pressure of public speaking because online lessons eliminate this discomfort too. Depending on the platform, the screen can be arranged to feel like nobody else is watching.
All these elements speak in favor of the convenience and comfort of online courses.
Learning and teaching online saves resources on all sides, students, teachers and course providers.
- expenses like gas, taxi or public transport – gone
- costs for printing studying materials – gone
- costs normally reserved for meals and drinks during breaks – gone
- costs for leasing or maintaining lecture spaces – gone
No limits in number of students & choice of teachers
The space not being a boundary to the number of participants is another one of great advantages of online classes. Ordinarily, the number of seats equals the number of students that can attend the class. Although there may still be an upper limit on the number of course applicants, the restrictions are much lighter than in a classroom.
Furthermore, since space is not an issue, the organizer can choose from a much larger pool of educators. This way the organization may be based in London and the instructor may teach from Harvard or Silicon Valley. Such an advantage can positively influence the quality of the course and demand among the students.
Green and Eco-friendly
Online learning eliminates additional costs such as gas, studying material, lunch packages, building maintenance. Such expenses equal gas emission, paper and electricity waste, and plastic pollution.
Traditional classroom courses are usually taught by semesters or in different longer time slots during an academic year. This doesn’t suit online education which aims for knowledge delivery with speed and good quality. Most often a worthwhile video course will expand between one week and a month and half. The contents are then usually compressed and delivered with more precision. It results in you leaving with a lot of new information and knowledge to feed off.
Most job ads today sound something like this: “extra credit for showcasing certificates in the required and related fields”.
It’s a clear signal that times have changed. In order to be ahead it is no longer enough to wave your degree. The best way to prove your above-average interest in the particular profession is by adding more training to your resume. So make sure to do your research and find some quality and well-respected online courses in your line of work.
Quick list of other benefits:
- easier to organize independent or group meetings
- more room for individual breaks when needed
- less distractions
- different means of communication – chat, audio, video
- ability to mute the microphone or turn of the video
ELVTR – e-learning platform
If by now you’re convinced of the advantages of online learning, it’s time to check out ELVTR.
There are at least three seriously good reasons why to do so:
- ELVTR’s online courses are held 100% in real time
- their instructors are professionals from companies like Google, LinkedIn, IBM, Mastercard, Netflix, Nike, and Dropbox
- courses include community discussions, hands-on projects, and individual feedback from the instructors
The platform surpasses the above disclosed advantages and offers education in a variety of fields.
- marketing analytics,
- UX design,
- public relations,
- sales management,
- corporate finance,
- product design (and much more).
DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE LEARNING
Lack of social contact
This one is evident. Human behavior is complex and the only way to experience it fully is eye to eye.
A lot of things can go unnoticed or not noticed enough over the screen. It include gestures, body language, styling, tone of voice, and even jokes.
From the instructor’s perspective, this can affect the quality of the lectures, and on the side of the students – satisfaction.
Solution: instructors should put emphasis on practical work and encourage active participation by students
There’s no fear of bad connection when in the presence of a lecturer and surrounded by other course participants. Although technology has advanced tremendously in the last decade, students will always be at its mercy. During online courses there may be problems like: screen freeze, audio loss, bad internet connection, low battery, and similar. Sometimes these are easily fixable and sometimes it can cause missing a few parts of the lecture.
Solution: make sure the internet speed is high and connection strong and set up a quiet place near an electricity outlet
Strong self-motivation required
An average attendee will likely be more relaxed during an online course than in a classroom. Regardless of video and audio connection, it’s easier to fall victim to free riding. The pressure to play an active role as a student is simply not as high as in person.
On the other hand, even for top students it can be hard to maintain focus. This largely depends on yourself and the overall level of the class’s interactivity.
Solution: active listening, intrinsic motivation and a will to learn
Not suited for all professions equally
While online education may be perfect for marketing or design, engineers and chemists would probably be better off with a more practical experience. It’s just not that simple for them to achieve well enough imitation of lab or R&D conditions over the video. However, this bring us back to the beginning of the article. What doesn’t seem that normal today is most likely a new normal of tomorrow.
Solution: Fields of study like engineering and chemistry should utilize the benefits of online learning by blending video and in person study methods