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The growth of online college education.

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With online courses gaining precedence, more institutions are incorporating them into the teaching and are realising the impact and weight that this route of education can have. In fact, there has been a rise in the amount of universities and schools that are now offering online learning with more and more students choosing to enrol for these courses each year.

Online learning from the UK provides institutions with tangible results in order to measure their outcomes. Through this, they are able to distinguish an increase in revenue from online courses which is a great incentive for them to continue providing them. Whilst institutions place students at the forefront of their teaching, they are essentially still concerned about costing and the profit that they are making from courses. The future will see more institutions focusing on providing an online education because it has proven to be a viable route that is worth investing in. There will also be an increase in schools that solely provide an online education such as the Online Business School. However, some universities are finding that they are struggling with trying to provide and integrate online learning into the education that they already provide without hindering its quality and potential.

The Council of Independent Colleges and the Learning House carried out a survey of chief academic offices in which they found that faculties often act as a barrier to converting to online learning, due to their lack of acceptance. Where teachers are accustomed to standing in front of a class and projecting information, it can often be difficult to integrate new methods and concepts into their teaching. Therefore, some institutions find that it is often challenging for faculty staff to willingly participate in integrating online learning into existing courses or support the idea of courses being solely taught online.

Many institutions already offer distance-learning degrees or integrate e-learning into their teaching. However, taking the step to commit to a full online course can seem daunting and some universities are still questioning its legitimacy.

A benefit of providing an online education is that it opens up the university internationally. Although international students contribute to a large percentage of the student count at universities, online education provides students abroad with access to the university without having to commit to moving to the UK. This not only means that institutions can accommodate more students but also that these students are able to participate in online learning from the UK. The availability of online courses also allows institutions to cater to more students whilst still ensuring that they are gaining a significant revenue. It creates opportunity for them to offer more varied courses whilst also building a network of global connections. Some universities already have campuses abroad, however providing online courses can allow them to have more visibility.

As the job market also continues to become competitive, more individuals are focused on self-development. Therefore, online education caters to working professionals and many organisations already provide online training to the employees with certifications for software such as Google Adwords and Analytics being provided online. Online business schools are gaining more traffic from people that are already educated and are looking to develop and broaden their skillset, therefore e-learning appears to a wider audience and is often the preferred route.

Due to its recognition and credibility, more institutions will eventually begin to move to providing an online education whether that is through integrating it into pre-existing courses or by introducing new ones entirely. Although it may have to be a case of trial and error for some, online learning is already growing in popularity for countless institutions and is resulting in a large revenue being earned.

The evolution of online learning

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From writing on a chalkboard to learning from behind a screen, the face of education has rapidly evolved. With technology quickly becoming heavily involved in our everyday activities such as when making payments or checking the weather, its use in learning has slowly been implemented into traditional education and has revolutionised the way that students are being taught. In fact, it is now possible to gain and study for an entire university degree online.

How has learning changed?

It could be argued that traditional education has always been presented in a concrete form whereby a teacher is likely to stand and recite information that the student is expected to understand and remember. However, with the development of technology and the internet, education is now being offered in a more appealing and digestible form. Below are a few of the ways in which online learning has changed and helped to evolve education.

  • E-learning caters to all learning styles. Through using virtual tools, whether that is showing a video in a classroom to explain a concept or participating in an online quiz, students are more likely to remember information and engage with the things that they are being taught. E-learning allows schools to accommodate different learning styles through its various teaching methods, leading to students producing better results whilst also retaining information once they have completed the course. When everyone learns in different ways, courses need to be tailored for students which is something that traditional education has not previously allowed.
  • Appeals to a wider audience.With the job market becoming more competitive, there is more pressure on employees to remain focused on self-development. However, they are not able to commit to attending a university class whilst working a full-time job, therefore online learning presents them with the opportunity to learn without it impacting them in the workplace. E-learning makes education accessible to everyone whether that is a mother with children or people that are in circumstances that do not allow them to attend classes every day.
  • Offers flexibility. Traditional education has always consisted of having to be present in class everyday with the risk of falling behind if unable to attend. However, e-learning makes it possible to both learn in your own space whilst co-ordinating your own schedule. This can often be revolutionary for many people that may be balancing several commitments as discussed above. However, it also means that individuals can be more productive by learning from anywhere, whether that is on their commute to work or when travelling to another country.

It is not only teaching through an online platform that has enhanced education, but also the learning process and experience which has become a more appealing way of gaining a qualification. When society is already so accustomed to relying on technological devices to look up information, e-learning acts as the next step and therefore opens up the pathway to a more educated and well-informed society. The internet is a pool of resources and with a majority of books now available in electronic form, it has vastly improved the accessibility of information. This again contributes to e-learning and allows students to read and seek relevant material without having to leave their home.

Future of online learning

Online learning degree makes education accessible whilst also presenting it as something that is achievable by individuals that may have found that they do not work best in a classroom setting. It also makes information and courses more readily available with things such as MOOCs increasing in popularity.

With the e-learning market continuing to grow in worth, things such as virtual technologies and mobile learning are gaining precedence and will vastly be incorporated into traditional education. As institutions are already utilising virtual platforms and finding them to be a more cost-effective route, it is evident that education will quickly become digitalised. Through changing the way that people are gaining an education, it not only ensures that everyone has access to education but also impacts the economy whereby people will continue to self-develop and therefore gain more skills.

Overall, with the quick implementation of technology into learning, the future of education is online.

How the flexibility of online learning is helping it gain more popularity.

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The flexibility of online education is often the most appealing factor, contributing to many students choosing to opt for this route over a more conventional education. Whilst it promises things like convenience and more freedom, flexibility itself also has a positive impact on the student’s overall learning.

How are students benefiting from flexible learning?

Flexible learning provides students with full control and accountability for their learning. Rather than having to show up to a class as a requirement, they are able to decide and allocate time for their learning. This control not only allows them to co-ordinate their education around their commitments but ensures that they are learning at the best time. For example, some students may work better in the evening but traditional education may restrict them by only offering classes during the day. Flexible learning allows the student to decipher when and how they will learn by tailoring their course to their own capabilities. This ultimately leads to them retaining information and producing better results.

They also have the advantage of learning at their own pace which can help to alleviate a lot of pressure. Teachers often speedily run through concepts and then follow up with a task that students are required to complete. This can pressure individuals to quickly complete the task but does not leave space for students to ask questions. If the student has not understood a concept or idea that the teacher has explained, they are not able to complete the task to the best of their ability, therefore hindering their own learning. The flexibility of online learning allows students to slowly grasp concepts and ensure full comprehension before moving forward. Again, this leads to achieving better grades.

How are institutions helping students by providing flexible learning?

Flexible learning has shifted the entire focus of education from the instructor’s teaching onto the student’s learning. Students were previously required to simply listen in class and then memorise information for a final exam. However, flexible learning is forcing institutions to re-think how students are being taught and whether this traditional method of teaching is ultimately beneficial.

Every student has a different learning style but traditional education does not cater to them all. Therefore, by changing the teaching styles and the way that students are being presented with information, institutions are able to measure its overall impact and outcome. By providing students with the liberty to teach themselves and experiment with various learning methods, the student not only becomes more accountable for the way that they are digesting information but it also helps to shift the responsibility onto the student. When students feel more responsible for their learning, they are more likely to be dedicated and therefore work harder.

Institutions are quickly recognising the value and impact of online learning components and are now beginning to implement them into their teaching. This not only helps to keep students engaged but saves time by teachers not having to allocate tasks in the classroom. Some courses expect students to participate in online quizzes and discussions aside from attending class which can contribute to students being more interactive whilst being fully engaged in the things that they are learning.

The flexibility of online learning itself allows for more self-discipline and also helps students to gain life skills that they can later implement within the workplace. This is something that is often neglected in traditional education whereby students do not prioritise self-growth whilst having to constantly attend classes. Being able to demonstrate that they have acquired these skills through online learning can ultimately contribute to the student acquiring a more senior position within an organisation. Therefore, flexibility itself has an enormous impact on the way that students are learning so its alluring nature has complete validity. Providing an individual with the option of how they learn is integral to their success.

How online learning benefits students in different ways.

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With the rapid increase in the popularity of online education, it is evident that it is proving to be a successful way of learning and thereby benefiting students more than a traditional education. There are countless advantages to learning online whilst also allowing individuals that may not have previously considered pursuing higher education with the opportunity to study and broaden their knowledge. This can only result in a more highly educated society and therefore inevitably have a positive impact on the economy. Below are some of the advantages of online learning:

Provides you with control

Conventional education allows the lecturer to decide how they will convey information to the class and teach students. However, online learning gives you the opportunity to become your own teacher, providing you with full control. People learn in different ways so this control could be the distinguishing factor of whether or not you achieve good grades. For example, in a classroom, the teacher may ask you to complete a task to learn something. With online learning, although there are tasks, you have the time to teach yourself concepts differently without the pressure to quickly provide answers to the teacher. This not only results in you understanding topics better but ensures that you explore different ways of learning, allowing you to fully retain information.

Create your own environment

Instead of having to sit in a classroom full of your peers, you can choose where you learn. This ensures that you are maximising your own potential and also helps you gain the most out of your education. For example, if you know that you work better in a library or in the middle of a coffee shop, you have the freedom to learn in these spaces. Creating your own working environment has a positive impact on the way that you absorb and digest information. Again, everyone works differently and so being forced to learn in a classroom setting is not always successful. Sometimes it is about finding the right space for you.

Lower cost

Although the cost of the course itself may not necessarily save you money, you will find that you are still able to save within other areas. For example, not having to travel to attend a class or purchase textbooks. Online learning also allows you to choose your own hours, therefore creating time for you to pursue other things such as a full-time job. Being able to earn whilst studying is often difficult to balance with a conventional education because classes can be spread throughout the day.

Flexibility

Online learning provides you with the flexibility to work at any hour of the day and coordinate your learning around your schedule. One of the advantages of this is that if you are put into a situation where something urgent arises such as your car breaking down, you do not have to worry about rushing to a class due to the fear of missing out on an entire topic. Instead you have the luxury of being able to re-arrange your time and learn later or on another day. This flexibility is non-prevalent within conventional education, in fact missing a class can often force you to fall behind your peers.

Connect internationally

Distance learning allows you to be a part of an online community and therefore helps you connect with other professionals in the field. This will provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the global industry, whilst aiding your education through reading and sharing relevant material. By placing you in a situation where you are responsible for networking and building connections, it can set you up for your future career where this is something that will be expected from you. Gaining different perspectives can also aid your thinking skills and therefore cause you to think more critically, a skill which is highly sought by employers.

Online learning can be responsible for improving many of your personal skills and is something that can benefit all areas of your life. For example, it will help to make you more punctual through your time management skills. This can then go on to impact you when attending social gatherings or even attending meetings in the future. There are countless ways in which online learning can help to enrich your life and develop into a well-rounded person.

How M-learning will boost E-learning

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Whilst the evolution of technology continues to impact and streamline the way that we carry out even the most meticulous daily tasks, it has also unnoticeably changed the face of education and the way that we consume and digest information. In fact, with the ever-changing nature of technology, society itself is continually shifting to accommodate it.

Our reliance on technological devices has quickly evolved into implementing and carving them into a means of gaining and seeking knowledge. Therefore, the revolution of both the learning and teaching processes was inevitable.

M-learning refers to mobile learning, comprised of a more social and interactive approach to education through the use of electronic devices. Through aiding institutions in creating a digital classroom, m-learning not only educates students but offers a more cost-effective route for both parties. With devices such as tablets accessible to all, the concept of education itself is presented as a more attainable goal, creating opportunities for those who may not have previously had the means.

How is m-learning helping to boost e-learning?

Mobile learning offers a more engaging and interactive means of gaining knowledge. When society itself is accustomed to digitalisation, people are more susceptible and open to the idea of learning online. In fact, education has shifted its focused to catering to the needs of the student and their learning experiences through altering and customising content. This not only enhances the student’s learning but ensures that they are gaining the most out of their education whilst being able to retain and fully absorb information.

It is easy for an individual to feel drowned in information, whereas mobile learning offers an alternative by providing content that is captivating and engaging. Whilst e-learning itself has quickly revolutionised education, it is often still perceived as a huge commitment whereas m-learning bridges this gap. It breaks information down and presents it in a more appealing manner. For example, an institution may utilise this through training their staff. When information is presented in an unconventional approach and manner, employees are more likely to excel and engage.

Advantages of m-learning

Cost effective. In an era where almost everyone has some type of technological device in their possession, it brings education to the student and simplifies the process of learning. Instead of having to purchase textbooks or travel to an institution for a class, m-learning eliminates this and thereby ensures that knowledge is available in a few simple clicks. This can be especially beneficial for institutions, for example when the management decide that they would like to train employees in a certain area. Instead of having to commit to enrolling them in a full university course, they have the option of using m-learning which not only educates staff but is overall a more cost-effective approach.

Flexible. With information accessible across multiple devices, information is available from anywhere in the world at any time. This not only opens up education to employees and students but also ensures that they are able to balance several commitments. For example, an employee is able to attend their full-time job and then return home to study without it impacting his or her work performance.

More appealing. With information being presented in a digestible form, it turns the concept of education itself into something that is more achievable. Some people are deterred by the idea of having to sit in a classroom and therefore disregard the idea of studying, however m-learning makes it possible to learn and gain information in different ways. For example, an employee is more likely to watch a few online videos on their phone than attend a physical class every week for a month. M-learning makes education more appealing to everyone.

Future of m-learning

With it quickly being implemented in the workplace and through educational institutions, there is the capacity for m-learning to continue to evolve. Its flexibility and alluring nature is more appealing to audiences and therefore it will continue to change e-learning and our approach to information. This will not only contribute to a more knowledgeable and well-educated society but will also help individuals with self-development.

M-learning is already being utilised in places such as museums and only looks to continue evolving and being utilised in other areas. With the growth of technology, the manner in which information is presented will continue to shift. In fact, one could argue that information is becoming dependent on technology and therefore its consumption will change as devices do. As factors such as having a shorter attention span become more prominent, education itself will continue to morph and change in accordance to technology.

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