Anyone who watches TV has seen commercials for online universities. Seemingly increasing in number by the day, such institutions tout the advantages of getting a graduate or postgraduate degree online. In addition to adult learners pursuing higher education, organizations and major institutions are increasing their utilization of e-learning for corporate training. With both academia and the corporate world getting on board, it’s time to take a closer look at what e-learning has to offer – and whether it’s for everybody.
Online education is advantageous for working adults who want to earn a degree to advance their career. Courses are typically structured so students can proceed at their own pace, allowing them to fit class into their schedule. Whether pursuing a graduate or postgraduate degree, online students can study without interruption to their job, and be more marketable upon completing their degree program. Communication with the instructor is through email, live chat, instant messaging or other online forums.
Classroom interaction allows the teacher to know their students better, which helps them guide students according to their strength and weaknesses. In a traditional setting, students can share their views openly, and their queries are addressed by the teacher immediately. Regular interaction with the teacher in the class help students understand the course in greater depth.
Advantages of online education
As traditional universities and colleges face challenges in the form of budgetary allocation, higher tuition fees and course shortages, students have started searching for a better alternative, and online education can be the best option. Currently, around three million students are registered for an online degree program, and six million students are taking a minimum of one online course as part of their degree program.
It undoubtedly means that online education is popular not just among the working professionals, but also those graduating high school.
School Psychologist and Educational Consultant Louise Sattler has benefited from online education,
“I see many benefits for online education, including the ability for to train whole school staff members on new curriculum, changes in state educational guidelines, updates with special education law, etc.
Online education, which I have conducted numerous times, has proven to be cost effective. Programs like GoTraining coupled with online messaging tools, can be amazing for corporate and staff educational purposes.”
Here are some reasons online education is rapidly gaining ground.
- Online education is more cost-effective – A traditional education is much more expensive than its online equivalent, due to associated costs and money spent on commuting (gas, wear-and-tear on your car, public transportation/ride share costs, etc.)
- Online education offers you a variety of courses and programs – You have plenty of options that encompass almost every career field.
- Online education is more flexible and convenient – When it comes to online education, you are your own master. You can plan your day according to your schedule, rather than following a fixed routine.
- Online education offers a comfortable learning environment – As students don’t have to interact with the faculty or classmates, they can wear whatever they like during study sessions. Students also don’t have to worry about traffic, parking, leaving work early or missing family engagements.
- Online education can improve your career prospects – Even while working full-time, you can enroll and complete an online course that can further your career prospects.
- Online education can improve your technical skills – To complete an online course, you need to know something about computers because you have to navigate various learning management systems (LMS) and different other programs. The computer skills you learn to finish your online course helps you in all your future endeavors.
Disadvantages of online education
While there are many advantages of online education, it has some drawbacks, as well. Video communications service ezTalks raises the question: Online education is a good alternative to the traditional form of education, but is it offering the same quality and skills?
Here are four of the drawbacks noted.
- Online education requires immense self-discipline – When you are in a classroom, you are expected to follow rules and regulations – which instills a sense of discipline. Without the structure of a physical classroom and class schedule, it can be easy to lose focus and not devote the necessary time to course work.
- You don’t have a teacher to interact with – Interaction during online education is usually a not a real-time process. Unless direct messaging is enabled, questions for the teacher must be submitted online, with answers typically received later. In a classroom setting, students can interact with teachers more spontaneously, and have a dialogue that may lead to a deeper understanding of the subject.
- Online education involves a bigger workload – Since institutions that offer online courses know they cannot monitor their students effectively, they assign more tasks and assignments. This can be a serious problem for students pursuing a degree while working full-time.
- You don’t have the company of other students – When students interact with each other, it leads to a sense of camaraderie, healthy competition and a feeling of belonging. Online courses don’t provide such interaction, which many students find enriching on both academic and personal levels.
“The primary disadvantage of online learning in corporate settings is that traditional classroom will always be more effective at creating a sense of community. For our investment banking clients, some of the most enduring relationships are formed during new hire training and this is something employers are conscious of and actively want to preserve. I’m still in touch with some of my JP Morgan training class from nearly 20 years ago. And that’s why a blended live and online approach will probably continue to be preferable for the foreseeable future.”
…So, what does the future of online education look like?
Undoubtedly, the future of online education seems to be bright, with many transformations occurring. There are three main categories in the education industry, namely content providers, learning platform providers, and assessment providers.
Technology is playing a big role in making the education system more productive and effective. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) is improving the quality and affordability of education. AI is now being used for grading answer sheets, while sophisticated chat bots are being developed to answer students’ queries, and virtual personal assistants help provide support. Virtual reality is becoming widely used to simulate hands-on learning, and gamification is being introduced to make learning more interesting.
For example, global quality of life services corporation Sodexo is investing heavily in virtual reality for training purposes. By avoiding the high cost of in-person employee training, Sodexo’s virtual learning environment has generated more than $1 million in cost savings, and the company has doubled the attendance rate for training.
How is online education helpful for corporate training?
Training is an integral part of growth and development of employees in every organization, and online learning is used widely by corporations for training their workforce. The form of online training prevalent in the corporate world deals with creating and developing content which is delivered via a Learning Management System (LMS) to the trainees. Here a specific topic is taken and based on the content related to the content like presentations, videos, audios, etc. are collected and uploaded on the LMS that is accessible by the trainees easily.
Online training programs are created to help people via coursework and information that allow trainees to perform specific tasks in a better way. Apart from delivering the content and course material, online training programs also allow trainees to participate in live interactions and real-time feedback for surveys, tests, and quizzes. The students also have the option to interact with their instructors via chats or email to clear their doubts.
But, creating online training content from scratch is not all that easy a job. That is why eServe developed a course management system that complements your existing LMS. It allows corporate training leaders to customize the course according to their specific needs, and allows your team to seamlessly align their training standards. eServe is able to integrate a suite of multimedia files into one live document, which you can easily access from any device that has an internet collection. Contact us to learn how eServe can enhance your e-learning program.