6 Misconceptions About Online Learning

6 Misconceptions About Online Learning
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    More and more American students are taking online courses.

    In fact, more than 6 million Americans have taken an online class.


Higher learning online courses allow students to get high-quality instruction from good universities without leaving their homes. They can organize their assignments around their own busy schedules and never have to worry about sitting through a lecture.

Although online learning isn’t for everyone, 75 percent report online learning is either as effective as or more effective than traditional classroom learning. You can feel confident when you sign up for an online class as long as you are aware of these common misconceptions.

“Online Learning Gives Me More Flexibility”

Many students assume they’re going to have an easier time taking an online course because they don’t have to go to class at a certain time. Although flexibility is one of the greatest advantages of online learning, that freedom is also one of online learning’s biggest challenges. Online classes still have deadlines, and your professor won’t be in your classroom verbally reminding you of those deadlines. You’ll need to be a self-starter, and you’ll need to manage your time well. If you can do that, then you’ll enjoy how flexible online learning can be.

“Online Learning Means You Don’t Have to Deal With Other Students”

Participation is a major grading component in most online classrooms. Your professor might expect you to leave comments on discussion boards in response to posted questions, and you may be assigned an online group project. Although the group work will likely take a different form from the traditional classroom, it will still be an important element of your online learning. You won’t be able to learn completely on your own, but you’ll gain a lot from the connections you make with other students in your online class.

“People With Online Degrees Don’t Learn as Much as People With Traditional Degrees”

Study after study has shown no significant difference between the outcomes of online learning and the outcomes of a traditional classroom. Taking an online class certainly won’t hurt your ability to learn; many people have trouble learning in traditional classrooms as well. What works in a traditional classroom won’t always translate to an online classroom. As always, it boils down to you and your commitment to learning the material.

“Online Degree Programs Are Easier”

The material you will learn in an online classroom is the same material you’d learn in a traditional classroom, and you’ll have to take just as much time to read and study as you would in a traditional classroom. The difference is in the traditional classroom professors may see when you’re struggling with the material and they can sometimes intervene before the test. In the online classroom, you’ll need to initiate a conversation with your professor when you’re having difficulties, so don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. As with any class, your effort to understand the material factors into your learning.

“Every Online Class Is the Same”

Online classes are as diverse as the professors who teach them. Some professors may require you to turn in regular small assignments, and others may prefer one midterm paper and one final paper. Some professors spend a lot of time connecting you to supplemental websites, videos and other material about the class; others stick to the textbook for their online class. You never know what to expect at the beginning of each semester. You’ll see a lot of variety, so you don’t have to worry about getting bored.

“Employers Don’t Respect Online Degrees”

In the earliest years of online learning, some employers were skeptical of online degree programs. However, as more and more students complete these programs with positive outcomes, employers are dropping their old biases. When you apply for a job, your employer will look more at which school you attended, whether the school is accredited and how qualified graduates tend to be, and they will pay less attention to whether you took an online class.

Most students succeed in the online classroom, and most likely, so will you. If you’re worried about committing to an entire online degree program, start by taking a class or two to see how you like the experience.


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Categories: Online Education