Does Online Education Have Its Limits?
Online education or e-learning continues to present itself as a strong option for students and academics alike. Learning remotely allows students from across the globe to gain a college education. There are some limits to online education, something that prospective students should weigh when looking at this option.
Face to Face Time
Students that crave in-person contact with other students will find e-learning wanting. Certainly, you can log on and connect with students on the computer, but you won’t enjoy the same personal touch you get when you are on campus.
Collaborative Effort or Not
One area where online learning tends to fall short is with collaboration. Certainly, the tools to work together may be in place, but the hands on approach is not possible. Science theory may work well online, but when you need to dissect a frog or mix chemicals, only a lab will do.
Try rooting for your college or university online. No, wait! Schools that are strictly online do not play sports. While academics certainly takes priority, the athletic side of the school experience is missing with online education. Also missing are the clubs, volunteer opportunities, the reading labs, group travels and other fun events that round out the college experience. You’re more likely to finish college if you root each other on too.
Some online schools or faculty do a better job of connecting students with instructors. The big disadvantage here is when a student is looking for an instant answer to a question and that course is taped or recorded. When taking a class in person, you have the benefit of asking the instructor a question; with your fellow students chiming in and a discussion ensuing. That cannot happen if you log on at 5:30 a.m. to do your coursework.
Limits to your online education may simply start with you. If you are not an independent learner or your tend to procrastinate, quite easily you won’t fit the mold of an e-learner. Typically, students of online education are older and are more likely to balance multiple responsibilities including family, work and community involvement. For such students online education is the only option, one that can yield a degree where in-person class attendance is not possible.
Perhaps the best option for students that want the full college experience is to take a blend of college courses in person and online. This combination can help students maintain the connection they desire with students and faculty alike, while giving them the flexibility to fill out their schedules with online classes.
See Also — History of Online Education